Shuttler Srikanth in Australian Open final

PV Sindhu

Kidambi Srikanth continued his dream run and grabbed a third successive Super Series final spot at the Australian Open with a straight-game victory over China's Shi Yuqi here on Saturday. His previous best was a semi-final appearance in 2016.

Srikanth will now either play reigning Olympic champion or two-time World champion and All England champion Chen Long or Korea's Lee Hyun II in the finals. Srikanth bagged a couple of lucky points to extend his supremacy to 14-8, but with time running out, Yuqi showed signs of life by winning the next three points. He capitalised on the spaces that he opened up by playing a lot of crosscourt drops and half smashes. Srikanth had beaten him at the quarters of the Singapore Open in April. Srikanth controlled the points from the front court - his net play being extremely deceptive as he often pushed Shi deep before unleashing his smashes.

The only Indian left in the competition, Srikanth has been on a role this year. He soon took advantage of the lead, scoring two quick points to win the game 21-10 in 15 minutes.

There were a few hiccups as Shi Yuqi tried to close the gap but Srikanth kept his cool to close out the game and with it the match. Shi took a slender early lead in the second game but Srikanth caught up at 2-2 and edged ahead with an onrushing return at the net.

Okuhara made her first Superseries final in over a year, wearing down China's Sun Yu 21-18, 18-21, 21-14, while Yamaguchi played a brilliant counter-attacking game to shock Taiwanese top seed Tai Tzu Ying 21-19, 21-12. It was perhaps fitting that Srikanth opened up a match point opportunity with a typical steep smash.

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