Top seed Kidambi Srikanth overcame a tough challenge from compatriot Ajay Jayaram to reach the final of the Swiss Open at St. Jakobshalle in Basel on Saturday. The world no. 4 came back from a game down to secure victory in 50 minutes.
Thrilling Swiss Open semifinal clash between Kidambi Srikanth and Jayaram
It was a closely-contested all-India semi-final match between Kidambi Srikanth and Ajay Jayaram at the Swiss Open. Srikanth held a 1-0 career record over his 27-year-old opponent and their last meeting was in 2012 at the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold.
43rd-ranked Jayaram who had been in sizzling form at this tournament, looked the better of the two in early exchanges. He broke away from 6-6 in the first game to win six consecutive points and take a 12-6 lead. With sharp and accurate play, the 2014 Dutch Open champion managed to stay in front and wrapped up the opening game 21-17.
The second game was an example of Srikanth’s tenacity and patience. The China Open winner started engaging Jayaram in long rallies to draw an error. Even though the World number 43 was initially ahead, Srikanth managed to cut down the lead quickly. From 8-12, Srikanth won 7 straight points to lead 15-12 and closed out the second game 21-15.
The third game featured faster points and saw the 22-year-old Kidambi Srikanth race out to a 10-5 lead. However, the persevering Jayaram came roaring back to equalise at 12-12.
By virtue of his exceptional defensive skills, Srikanth once again managed to inch ahead 15-12 and then held on to his lead. Even though Jayaram fought hard till the end, Srikanth reached his second final of the season 17-21, 21-15, 21-18. He had reached the final of the 2015 Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold earlier in January where he lost to Parupalli Kashyap.
Up next: Viktor Axelsen or Xue Song
In the final, Kidambi Srikanth will face the winner of the match between defending champion Viktor Axelsen and Xue Song. Srikanth is tied with Xue Song 1-1 in their head-to-head meetings while he has never met Axelsen.
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