Srikanth lifts French Open; wins fourth title of the year


India's Kidambi Srikanth created history as he became the first Indian player to win four Superseries titles in a year after he won the men's singles title at the French Open on Sunday. He defeated Japan's Kenta Nishimoto 21-14, 21-13 in the final to achieve this feat.

This win was another addition to the Indian's list of firsts as he also became the only Indian to win the French Open since it became a Superseries event in 2007. He is also likely to rise to a career-best number two in the world rankings that will come out on Thursday. He is now only the fourth player after Lin Dan, Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long to win four or more men's singles Superseries titles in a calendar year.

Srikanth and Nishimoto previously faced each other in the first round of this year's Singapore Open Superseries, where Srikanth won comfortably 21-12, 21-11 in just 32 minutes.

Both the players stayed level till 5-5 in the first game before Nishimoto won the next four points to lead 9-5. Srikanth then won the next five points to lead with two points at the changeover as the Japanese was forced to be a lot more defensive after the Indian increased the pace of play.

The down-the-line smash had Nishimoto in all sorts of trouble as his lifts grew increasingly errant. He also struggled to get a read on Srikanth's touch play at the net as the latter led 19-12 before winning the opening game comfortably.

The second game was all one-way traffic as Nishimoto kept gifting points to Srikanth, who led 10-3 at one stage. Nishimoto showed occasional flashes of the form that had gotten him to the final, but the fatigue of playing his seventh match in just six days finally caught up with him.

Srikanth, who was playing with a strapping below his right knee controlled the pattern of play from the front court and put Nishimoto out of his misery after 35 minutes with a trademark down-the-line smash.