India's Kidambi Srikanth came back from a game down to beat compatriot HS Prannoy and advance to the men's singles final of the French Open Superseries on Saturday. By doing so he became the first male Indian to reach the final of the French Open. The eight seeded Indian won the semis 14-21, 21-19, 21-18 in a match that lasted about an hour. Earlier, in the women's singles semi-final, PV Sindhu failed to cross her Japanese hurdle as she was knocked out of the French Open in straight games. Sindhu lost her semi-final match 14-21, 9-21 to Akane Yamaguchi in a match that lasted 37 minutes.
In the first game of the men's singles semis, Prannoy dominated the proceedings as Srikanth gave away easy points. Prannoy held a comfortable lead over his compatriot throughout the match. Srikanth tried fighting back but to no avail as Prannoy won the first game 21-14.
In the second game, the Guntur shuttler had a slight edge over his opponent, but Prannoy bounced back with quick points to take the lead. At the break, Srikanth trailed Prannoy 10-11. The rest of the game saw both the Indians fight neck-and-neck before Prannoy took a two-point lead. However, the 24-year-old had other plans as he fought valiantly to level the match 1-1 by winning the game 21-19.
Going in the third and decisive game, Srikanth looked confident as he held a comfortable lead. But then again Prannoy earned quick points and left Srikanth trailing. Most of the third game transpired in the same fashion with the same result as well. Srikanth took important points at crucial junctures of the game to throw Prannoy off his game and enter the final of the tournament.
In the women's singles, from the outset, Sindhu looked a bit jaded but despite that she managed to stay in touch with the Japanese. Both players traded leads for much of the first game but Yamaguchi opened a 17-14 lead to snatch the advantage in a game that lasted 19 minutes. There was a sudden drop of intensity in Sindhu's performance in the first game at 14-14 when Yamaguchi reeled off seven straight points to wrap it up at 21-14. Yamaguchi repeatedly attacked Sindhu's left side as she found it difficult to control.
The second game was a completely one-sided affair as Yamaguchi straightaway went 5-0 up and at mid-break she led 11-2 and never looked back. It took fifth seed Yamaguchi only 37 minutes to blow away the Indian challenge in the last four clash. The Olympic silver medallist was sluggish in her movement as Yamaguchi, with her powerful smashes, did not allow Sindhu to settle in the game.
In the second game, Sindhu did win a few points with some deft drop shots, but it was too late in the day, as Yamaguchi won the second game at 21-9 to make it to the summit round.
(With PTI Inputs)