World No 4 Kidambi Srikanth shows nerves of steel to overcome strong challenge from Viktor Alexson to clinch Swiss Open title
Basel (Switzerland): Young Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth clinched the Swiss Grand Prix Gold championship title after overcoming a strong challenge from Viktor Alexson in a hard-fought men's singles final here yesterday.
Kidambi Srikanth. Pic/Getty Images
World No 4 Srikanth showed nerves of steel to prevail over his Danish opponent, ranked sixth in the world, 21-15, 12-21, 21-14 in the thrilling summit clash of the USD 120,000 event as the contest lasted 47 minutes.
Srikanth, who created a major upset in the final of the 2014 China Open Super Series Premier by beating five-time World champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan, kept his nerves to make a strong comeback after going down tamely in the second game.
The top two seeds started off positively in the opening game, not sparing an inch to each other. It was a closely fought affair till 8-8 before the Indian managed to take a slender lead at the St Jakobshalle stadium here.
The 22-year-old from Andhra Pradesh played sensibly thereafter and never let the advantage slip. He maintained an edge over his opponent to finally wrap off the first game rather comfortably. However, Alexson, seeded two, got his act together in the second game and put up a dominating show, that it sent Srikanth looking for covers.
Alexson bounces back
In fact, it turned out to be a cake walk for the Danish player. From being tied 2-2, Alexson broke away and simply surged ahead 7-2. He kept extending the advantage and the margin became impossible for the Indian to reduce.
Alexson eventually sealed it off 21-12 to take it to the decider. In the third game, Srikanth straight away opened up a 3-0 lead and then made it 4-1, but Alexson was not the one to get intimidated and he levelled the scores at 4-4 before gaining a few more points to surge ahead.
Srikanth fights back
Srikanth, however, soon drew parity at 9-9 and it moved on like that till 13-13 before the top seeded Indian shuttler slowly gained lead and had three points in a row. Alexson earned another one but the Indian grabbed the next five points on the trot to etch his name as the winner of the competition.
Srikanth had won a Grand Prix Gold title in Thailand Open in 2013, while finished runners-up at the 2014 India Open Grand Prix Gold event in Lucknow.
> First Indian to win a Grand Prix Gold title (Thailand) in June 2013
> In the same year, Srikanth beat reigning champion Parupalli Kashyap to claim his first senior national title in Delhi
> Stuned legendary shuttler Lin Dan last year to win the China Open in straight sets — the only Indian so far to clinch a Super Series Premier men's title
> Reached semi-finals of Denmark and Dubai last year
> Runner-up at the India Open Grand Prix Gold event in 2014 and 2015