Indonesia: Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth booked his place in the Indonesia Open Super Series Badminton tournament finals after producing a spectacular performance to defeat Son Wan Ho of Korea in an intense semi-final contest here in Jakarta on Saturday.
In a gruelling last-four contest that lasted for 73 minutes, Srikanth defeated the second-seed 21-15, 14-21, 24-22 to set up the summit clash against Japan's Kazumasa Sakai.
The Indian shuttler, who had produced a rich vein of form as he swept aside Tzu Wei Wang of Chinese Taipei 21-15, 21-14 in a one-sided quarterfinal clash yesterday, came out with a strong performance as he won the first game rather comfortably 21-15 against Wan Ho.
Srikanth continued his form in the second game as well leading 5-2 before the World No. 1 made a comeback to close the gap to a solitary point at the break, Srikanth leading 11-10.
The Korean then went along in the second half of the game as he dominated Srikanth, and eventually closed the game 21-14.
The third game went on neck and neck as Wan Ho took a slender lead at the break, 11-10 and then a three point lead at 13-10.
However, both matched each other point for point as they were tied 15-all and later 18-all.
A HawkEye call by Wan Ho was overruled with the 22nd ranked Indian trailing 20-19 at match point and the third game was tied at 20-all.
Srikanth then had three match points but the Wan Ho showed why he is the number one ranked player with his grit and class and came back every time to level the match up.
The 24-year-old from Hyderabad, however, brought an end to what was a marathon match on his fourth match point and entered his second consecutive Super Series final.
Earlier, Sakai defeated India's HS Prannoy 21-17, 26-28, 18-21 in a gruelling last-four contest that lasted for one hour and sixteen minutes to enter the finals.
The Indian shuttler, who had stunned World and Olympic Champion Chen Long of China to enter the semifinals, won the first game 21-17 but his Japanese opponent came out with a more aggressive approach in the second game to build an early lead.
However, Prannoy stuck to his natural game and clawed his way back to take an 18-17 lead. From then on the lead kept shuttling between the two till the Japanese edged out the mammoth game 28-26.
Sakai, who is ranked 20 places lower to Prannoy, came out strong in the final game and built a healthy lead. However, the Indian came back again and took the lead which Sakai, holding on is nerves in the final stages, won the game 21-18 to seal the final berth.
Both Prannoy and Sakai were appearing in their first Super Series semi-final. Their only previous meeting was at the Indonesia Open in 2013, where Sakai won 21-13, 14-21, 21-17.