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Kidambi Srikanth becomes first Indian man to reach World Championships final

Kidambi Srikanth beat Lakshya Sen 17-21, 21-14, 21-17 in the all-Indian semifinal, becoming the first ever Indian to reach the men's singles final at the Badminton World Championships


Kidambi Srikanth and Lakshya Sen after their clash in 2021 Badminton World Championships (Screenshot)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 18 Dec 2021 6:51 PM GMT

Kidambi Srikanth fought off fatigue and a spirited challenge from 20-year-old Lakshya Sen to win 17-21, 21-14, 21-17 in the all-Indian semifinal at the Badminton World Championships in Huelva, Spain on Saturday to become the first ever Indian to make the Men's Singles final at this prestigious event.

Kidambi Srikanth, a former World number 1, was playing in his 6th BWF World Championships, never having reached further than the quarter-finals before. His best finish was in 2017 where he was knocked out in the quarterfinals. This is the first time in 32 months - since the Super 500 India Open in 2019 - that Srikanth has reached the final of a BWF event.

As it Happened | Kidambi Srikanth vs Lakshya Sen semifinal

The last time he won a BWF title was four years ago, when he won the French Open in 2017.

Srikanth's performance at the 2021 BWF World Championships is set to be the best ever by an Indian male. India have two medals in the men's singles event in the history of this event. While Prakash Padukone bagged the bronze in 1983, Sai Praneeth followed suit in 2019.

Trained in the Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad, Srikanth was taking on Lakshya Sen from the Padukone Academy in the first ever all-Indian semifinal at this event. The coaches' corner - usually occupied by Park Tae Sang and DK Sen respectively - remained empty on Saturday as the two fought it out over 1 hour and 9 minutes.

Srikanth led the first game at the outset till Lakshya fought back to take the lead for the first time at 8-7. Srikanth lost the first game and started out the second game on the back foot as well, before roaring back with a series of 8 points to come back from 4-8 down to go 11-9 up. Both players dealt with increasing tiredness thereon, with the 28-year-old Srikanth prevailing in three games.

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