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Australian Open: Kidambi Srikanth storms into third successive Superseries final

New Delhi: Ace Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth stormed into his third straight Superseries final after defeating Chinese fourth seed Shi Yuqi in straight games at the Australian Open in Sydney today.

The World No.11 made the task at hand look really easy as he needed just 37 minutes to move into the summit clash, defeating Shi 21-10, 21-14 at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre.

In the first game, the scores at mid-way interval were 11-7, with Srikanth in lead. He came after the break, increasingly attacking to settle the first set 21-10 in just 15 minutes.

The second game was more closely contested, with both players level at 8-8, before Srikanth upped the ante to claim a 21-14 win and seal his spot in the final.

The Hyderabadi shuttler maintained his unbeaten record against the Chinese opponent by defeating him for the second time in as many clashes. The duo had first met during the Singapore Open Superseries in April.

So far, Saina Nehwal is the only Indian to have won the Australian Open – in 2014 and 2016 – but Srikanth would have a shot at registering his name in history when he takes on either reigning Olympic champion Chen Long of China or South Korea’s Lee Hyun Il in the final on Sunday.

“It’s a dream performance,” said Srikanth, who had suffered a stress fracture in his right ankle after the Olympics.

“I played a World Super Series final (Singapore Open) after two years, and then to play the next two finals is a dream for sure.”

“I was in control of the whole match, I didn’t give him any easy points at the start. It’s just that I had to stay there, he’s someone who wants to keep the shuttle in play and goes for the odd shot, so I wanted to stay there and not give him easy points. I was in control at the net.”

“I have no thoughts about the final, no thoughts about winning or losing. (If it is Chen Long) I’ve played him four or five times. Most times it was close. I played him twice this year, I lost 21-19 or so,” he said.

The only Indian left in the competition, Srikanth has reached three consecutive Superseries finals now with his win over Shi and could win his fourth Superseries crown on Sunday.

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