BWF World Tour Finals: Srikanth takes a winning start, Ashwini-Sikki pair lose

BWF World Tour Finals: Srikanth, who had reached the round of 16 in the 2014 year-end event, defeated Popov 21-14 21-16 in 42 minutes in his opener of the group B.

Indian commuter Kidambi Srikanth took a back-to-back victory over Frenchman Toma Junior Popov to make an impressive start to his men’s singles campaign in the BWF World Tour final on Wednesday.

Srikanth, who had reached the knockout stages of the 2014 year-end event, defeated Popov 21-14 21-16 in 42 minutes in their Group B opener.

However, women’s duo Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy lost 14-21 18-21 to Japanese combination Nami Matsuyama and second-seeded Chiharu Shida in their Group B opener.

Srikanth, former world No. 1, displayed a compact game. He was alert and agile on the court and found points with his attacks against the French world No. 33.

The opener was a close affair in the first game with the duo fighting tooth and nail.

Srikanth managed to take a slim 11-9 lead at the break, then came out with five straight points to move up to 16-10 and quickly closed the game.

In Game 2, Srikanth was initially shooting 1-4, but quickly recovered to once again regain a two-point advantage in the interval.

Just like in the first game, he took a good 14-9 lead before moving to 19-14. A long shot from his opponent gave Srikanth four match points and he sealed it with superb net play.

Srikanth will then face triple world junior champion from Thailand Kunlavut Vitidsarn.

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