Kidambi Srikanth finally emerged on top of the podium after months of missing out. The Indian clinched his home Grand Prix Gold title at the Syed Modi International Badminton Championships 2016 beating China’s Huang Yuxiang 21-13 14-21 21-14.
Korea took home two titles. Sung Ji Hyun won the Women’s Singles overcoming a combative Sayaka Sato (Japan) in three tight games, while Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan beat Eefje Muskens/Selena Piek (Netherlands) for the Women’s Doubles title. Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong (Malaysia, Men’s Doubles) and Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto (Indonesia, Mixed Doubles) were the other winners.
Srikanth Back on Top
But it was understandably Srikanth’s victory that had the crowd celebrating. The Indian’s last win was at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open in March last year. He had come close to winning a GPG late last year, falling in three close games to Tommy Sugiarto (Indonesia) in the final of the Yonex-Sunrise Indonesian Masters.
On the way to the final, Srikanth fought past Malaysia’s Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin in Round 3, Malaysia’s Goh Soon Huat in the quarter-finals, and Thai veteran Boonsak Ponsana in the semi-finals. The Indian survived a close shave against Goh, saving two match points in the third.
Sung Outplays Sato
Women’s Singles second seed Sung Ji Hyun had a comfortable path to the final, where she ran into Sayaka Sato, who too hadn’t dropped a game all week. The Korean was in arrears after the first game but recovered to close out the match 12-21 21-18 21-18. The biggest surprise in the category was the loss of home favourite PV Sindhu in the second round to Thailand’s Nitchaon Jindapol 18-21 26-24 21-17.
Stunning Run by Chopra/Dewalkar
The most sensational performance of the tournament was Indian pair Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Akshay Dewalkar’s run to the final, their first ever GPG title shot. The local lads blitzed their way past Singapore Open champions Angga Pratama/Ricky Karanda Suwardi (Indonesia, second round); Denmark’s Mads Pieler Kolding/Mads Conrad-Petersen (quarter-finals), and Korea’s Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang in the semi-finals. They had one hand on the title with two match points in the second game, but the Malaysians wriggled out and stormed past in the third, 14-21 24-22 21-8.
Easy for Jung/Shin
Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan enjoyed a comfortable campaign, taking the title without dropping a game. The Koreans beat home hopefuls Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa in the semi-finals, while, in the other semi-final, Muskens/Piek overcame top seeds Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee. Jung/Shin powered past Muskens/Piek 21-15 21-13.
Joy for Jordan/Susanto
Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto recovered from the close loss of the first game to clinch the Mixed Doubles title over Puavaranukroh Dechapol/Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Thailand), 23-25 21-9 21-16. The Indonesians had earlier beaten Germany’s Michael Fuchs/Birgit Michels (quarter-finals) and Korea’s Shin Baek Choel/Chae Yoo Jung (semi-finals), while the Thais upset Japan’s Kenta Kazuno/Ayane Kurihara 19-21 21-9 21-17.