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Indian shuttlers are physically much more stronger now than their competitors and the ability to play longer matches gives them the edge over others, believes Kidambi Srikanth, who reached his fifth final this season.
Srikanth, who clinched titles at Indonesia, Australia and Denmark, saw off compatriot H S Prannoy 14-21 21-19 21-18 in the French Open Super Series semifinals to become the first Indian to reach five summit clashes in a season.
The World No. 4 credited this to a change in mindset brought about by new Indonesian coach Mulyo Handoyo.
“It is the kind of mindset we have these days, we are not really scared of longer matches and that gives us the edge over any players,” Srikanth said when asked about the contribution of Mulyo.
“If you play against few Chinese players, you have to be ready to play longer matches. Now we are ready to play that. I think we are physically much more stronger than any of the players.”
Srikanth also praised Prannoy for his run in the tournament.
“He really played well. The second and third game could have gone either way, through out the tournament he was fantastic.
“It is always tricky when you play against a fellow player whom you play 365 days. It is always tough. Today both of us played well. There was 18-18 in both the games and then I got three crucial games and that made the change.
“He is also an aggressive player, when he gets going, it really hits it hard. There were times in the match when I could not react to his smashes. It is tough when he gets going.”
Srikanth will face Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto in the final for his fourth title of the year.
“I think I am feeling tired now, just one more left. I just hope I can recover myself for tomorrow’s match. I am really thinking of doing well. I am not worried about the results, it is just to play my best, that’s it.”
A tad disappointed but Prannoy gave credit to Srikanth and said he needs to be more consistent.
“He played very well in the end of the game. I don’t think I played any bad strokes today or my plan went wrong. Just feel he took the chances in the end and came good in both the games. The shuttles were fast, his drives came good,” he said.
“It is just the one who executes well on the particular day wins and he did that in the end. I need to be a little more consistent in the couple of rounds.”
Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu, meanwhile, suffered a 14-21 9-21 loss to Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi.
“Playing semifinals is great but I am a bit upset though as I couldn’t make it to the finals. I have to learn from my mistakes and comeback,” she said.
Talking about the match, Sindhu said: “In the first game it was 14 all and I gave away many points. I gave a huge lead in the second also. she had a 10-12 points lead and to cover that was tough to comeback. There were too many unforced errors from my side and overall I couldn’t play my game.
“Her defence is very good. She was taking all my smashes today, I think I could have mixed it up. I played attacking and I could have changed a bit a little more in the first game but overall she played very well. In the second game she didn’t even make any mistake. I could have played more rallies.”