HYDERABAD: His meteoric rise continues. After a first-round loss at All England Open, top seed Kidambi Srikanth, ranked fourth in the world, bounced back strongly to clinch the Swiss Open Grand Prix gold title, defeating second seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark 21-15, 12-21, 21-14 in 47 minutes at Basel on Sunday.
In the process, the 21-year-old made history by becoming the first Indian to win the men’s title in this tournament. This was his first big title after the famous China Open Super Series Premier event where he stunned five times world champion Lin Dan last year. This was also the second GP gold title for the Guntur-born shuttler.
Coach Pullela Gopichand was elated with Srikanth’s show. “I think it is a creditable show, especially after losing in the first round of the All England championship last week. He played a good calculated game. This is a morale boosting win. He had a few fitness issues such as hamstring pull at the start of the year. But since then he has recovered nicely.’’
Coming to Sunday’s game, Gopichand said Srikanth was in full flow in the later part of the third game. “It was a fast-paced game. There were a couple of good shots by Srikanth. He dominated the first game but in the second game, he became a bit defensive. That allowed Axelsen (ranked sixth in the world) to take the second game. But in the third, Srikanth showed controlled aggression.”
Gopichand felt it was a good beginning for Srikanth. “I expect more good performances as this is Olympic qualifying year,’’ he added.
Former national coach Bhaskar Babu said in the first game the Dane made a lot of unforced errors. “However, in the second game, Alexsen took the shuttle early and won the battle.”