Happy with my performance; only need to be more consistent: Srikanth
Sydney/Hyderabad/New Delhi [Australia/India], June 25 (ANI): Ace Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth, who won his maiden Australian Open title on Sunday, has said he was happy with the performance he delivered against reigning world champion Chen Long in the summit clash.
Playing in his third consecutive Super Series final in Sydney, Kidambi needed just 46 minutes as he fended out Chen Long 22-20, 21-16 in the final match of the men's singles event.
"I am very happy with the performance .I want to thank all," Kidambi told ANI.
Kidambi showed no signs of discomfort and was just ruthless with his aggressive play as he defeated his Chinese opponent in straight games to win his fourth Super Series title.
The opening game was an evenly contested affair with the two opponents exchanging the lead. The rallies were a bit long at the start but both resorted to an attacking game from thereon.
However, aided by his deceptive shots and searing smashes, the Indian shuttler took 11-9 lead at the break. After the resumption, Long crawled back with three straight points to take lead at 12-11.
The game went down the wire with the Chinese saving a game point with a cross court smash but the 24-year-old Indian eventually prevailed to win it 22-20 and take 1-0 lead in 23 minutes.
"It was a very tough and close game. But after winning the 1st game, I think the whole momentum shifted towards me," he said about his first game win.
The second game began with a prolonged rally ended by Kidambi 's powerful down-the-line smash as he took an early 4-1 lead after employing a backhand smash.
Leading at 6-2, Chen, the reigning world champion attempted to attack back, hitting long shots to force the Indian shuttler to play wider and commit errors as Chen scored five consecutive points to take a lead at 7-6.
Kidambi, however, continued to remain aggressive but trailed for the first time in the game after a successful challenge from Chen.
The lead went on going back-and-forth in the second game and then both players adopted an attacking style of play post the changeover.
With the scores at 16-13, Kidambi scored one winner after the other and took the lead at 19-16.
Chen then hit a service error to give Kidambi his first match point opportunity and he converted it soon after as the Chinese hit a return long to win the match and his second Super Series final in two weeks.
The current world number 11 further said that he needs to be more consistent with the performance.
"Yes, we are doing well and we only need to be more consistent."
Meanwhile Kidambi's brother, Nandagopal said that the entire family was proud of his feat.
"I feel so great and it's a privilege that winning for India in back to back tournaments. We did not expect him to win back to back super series tournaments and beat the world number one and reigning champion to win the Australian Open," Nandagopal told ANI.
"After coming back from the injury, it's good to see him with a podium finish. He played very consistently and played like a champion. I am very happy for him," he added.
Echoing similar views, Union Minister of Sports and Youth Vijay Goel also heaped on Kidambi, saying the shuttler has made the nation proud with his feat.
"It is really a happy moment that Srikanth has won. He has made the nation proud. I congratulate him," Goel told ANI.
"His feat is also appreciable because he defeated Chen Long. He has become the hero of the nation," he added.
This was Kidambi's first ever win over the Chinese in six meetings.
Kidambi had reached the final of the Singapore Open in April and Indonesia Open before this tournament and has thus become only the fifth player in the world to contest three consecutive Super Series finals.
With the win, he has now gone to number one in Dubai Destination Rankings.
Meanwhile, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) has also announced a cash award of Rs. 5 lakh for Kidambi. (ANI)