Third successive final in Lucknow for shuttler Srikanth (Roundup)

Lucknow, Jan 30 (IANS) A finalist here the last two years, India’s Kidambi Srikanth will be looking to break the jinx and be third time lucky when he plays the men’s singles title clash at the $120,000 Syed Modi International Badminton Championships here on Sunday.

The top seed came out with a fantastic performance to ease past Thai 11th seed Boonsak Ponsana in straight games and enter the final of the Grand Prix Gold tournament at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium. Srikanth needed just 32 minutes to claim a 21-14, 21-7 victory in the semi-final which made him extend his career record to 3-1 against Ponsana.
The Guntur-born completely dominated the 11th seed in both the games.
In the first game, the 22-year-old took flight to earn an early 11-6 lead from where he won the next five points to make it 16-6. World No.28 Ponsana tried closing the gap but it was a bit too much for the Thai shuttler to take it to the wire.
World No.9 Srikanth raced away to a huge lead in the second game too which he kept extending, eventually winning 21 of the 28 points played in the game. From 12-6, he lost only one point in the next 10 played to clinch the game, match and enter the summit clash where he will face China’s Huang Yuxiang.
There was more joy for India as local pair of Pranaav Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar upset South Korean second seeds Kim Gi Jung and Kim Sa Rang 25-23, 13-21, 21-17 in an hour and four minutes to proceed to the men’s doubles final.
In the title match, the Indian pair will take on experienced Malaysian pair of V. Shem Goh and Wee Kiong Tan.
But earlier in the day, the crowd was disappointed as local pair Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa went down in the women’s doubles semis. Playing South Korean second seeds Jung Kyung Eun and Shin Seung Chan, the sixth seeded Indian pair lost 14-21, 16-21 in 39 minutes.