World number one Kidambi Srikanth takes on two-time Commonwealth Games champion Lee Chong Wei in the men's singles final of the 21st edition of the quadrennial event in Gold Coast on Sunday, April 15.
The Vivian Hoo-Chow Mei Kuan team won a gold medal in the badminton women's double event after defeating England's Lauren Smith-Sarah Walker. Srikanth had a good start as he won the opening game. In the men's singles semi-final, the Malaysian avoided an all-Indian men's final by ousting HS Prannoy, whom he defeated 21-16 9-21 21-14 in the semis.
While current form suggested Srikanth was the overwhelming favourite, Chong Wei's huge amount of experience in big matches could not be discounted from the equation.
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The 25-year-old Srikanth, who only reached the top ranking on Thursday, went some way to justifying that lofty position as he raced ahead 21-19 in the first game of the final on Australia's Gold Coast.
Lee's lackadaisical approach improved considerably thereafter and after leading 11-9 at the interval, he displayed some of the many stylish shots in his armoury to draw level and stay afloat in the high-intensity match, which was as much about elegance as sheer power.
It was Saina's second Commonwealth Games singles title after her victory at the 2010 Games in New Delhi. Lee continued to plunder points as will before closing off the game by a comfortable margin to seal the title. Kidambi Srikanth tried to make a comeback with a couple of points but he fell short to the incredible grit of the Malaysian.
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Saina, who led the head-to-head count 3-1 before today's match, won 21-18 23-21 in the high-pressure match that lasted an hour. Sindhu on the other hand, struggled to match her compatriot although she gave a stiff fight in the second game.
After losing the first game, Chong Wei found his groove and stormed back to win the match 19-21, 21-14, 21-14. The Malaysian was off to a great start and by the break, he lead Srikanth 11-5. The first time I lost as well as the time would be your last in one person. Lee was simply all over the court and had answers to everything Srikanth threw at him.
Lee Chong Wei now boasts a trophy haul that includes three Olympic silver medals and three Commonwealth singles golds.
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