Former champion Kidambi Srikanth broke a 17-month long drought by reaching the finals of the USD 350,000 India Open after prevailing in a three-game thriller in the men's singles competition here Saturday.
Srikanth had entered the finals of Commonwealth Games lastyear but he failed to reach the summit clash in any BWF superseries or BWFWorld Tour tournament since his French Open win in October, 2017.
The 26-year-old from Guntur eked out a 14-21 21-16 21-19triumph over China's Huang yuxiang in an engrossing semifinal. He will faceeither second seed Viktor Axelsen or India's Parupalli Kashyap in the final.
"It's been really long since I reached a final. I'mjust happy to be here, playing the final again," Srikanth said.
"I was trailing in the decided and I am happy to pullit off. I'm happy to come back in the second. It was about keeping the shuttlein. The crowd kept me going."
Srikanth used his flat tosses and deep lifts to engage hisrival into rallies but Huang was also up to the task before the Indian managedto hold on a 11-10 lead at the first break.
The duel continued before the Chinese moved to a 18-14 leadafter the Indian lost a few points at the net. Srikanth saved two game pointswith a cross court smash and a precise net shot before hitting wide to lose thefirst game.
In the second, Srikanth came on his own, opening up a 8-4lead after playing some exceptional strokes. Two smashes took him to the 11-4mark at the interval.
The Indian continued to dominate the proceedings after the breather and roared back into the contest when the Chinese hit the net.