Indian fans were super exited for an all Indian final clash at the Singapore Open Super Series. Both of them hailed from the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy. One was a former world no 3, the other was more unpredictable than the stock market. It turned out to be a hard fought battle with the underdog emerging the winner. 24 year old Sai Praneeth stunned Kidambi Srikanth to win the Singapore open super Series title, his first ever.

Praneeth prevailed 17-21, 21-17, 21-12 in a tough three set encounter. The first game went neck to neck until Srikanth nudged ahead. Praneeth showed that his semi-final victory over the world no 11 was no fluke by sealing the second game. In the decider Praneeth unexpectedly raised his game and pulled off a major heist.

Praneeth who was not given a chance to make it to the last stages of the tournament, received a message from Gopichand after the semi – final win. He said that it was good to receive an encouraging message from his coach.

Praneeth who won a bronze medal at the 2010 World Junior Championships, was only the second Indian badminton player to win a medal at the tournament.  SAINA Nehwal was the first. She went on to win a gold medal for India in 2008.

Praneeth had missed the All England open due to injury. Praneeth had once upset former world no 1 & former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat in what was Hidayat’s last game in his home country, Indonesia. Praneeth has also beaten top Chinese players over the years.

After the win, Sai Praneeth took 2 Indian Tricolours from the Indian fans who had come to support their heroes.  One for himself and the other for Srikanth. It was a wonderful podium moment for India.  Super Coach Gopichand had more to celebrate as his daughter claimed the U-16 girls National title. INDIA is the fourth nation after China,  Indonesia and Denmark to have two of their shutters compete in the finals of a Super Series event.


Alok Shetty

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