Srikanth defeats Shi to reach maiden Australian Open final

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Srikanth, who was in his third quarter-finals in the last five tournaments that he has participated in, made it to the semi-finals with a 25-23, 21-17 win in a match that lasted for 43 minutes.

India's Kidambi Srikanth defeated fourth seed Yuqi Shi 21-10, 21-14 from China to reach his maiden Australian Open final in Sydney on Saturday.

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"Yes, it's a dream performance", Srikanth said. The Indian shuttler took just 37 minutes to brush aside his Chinese opponent and storm into the title clash where he will play the victor of the other semi-final between China's Chen Long and South Korea's Lee Hyun Il.

Srikanth will now either play reigning Olympic champion or two-time World champion and All England champion Chen Long or Korea's Lee Hyun II in the finals.

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"I played a World Super Series final (Singapore Open) after two years, and then to play the next two finals is a dream for sure". It's just that I had to stay there, he's someone who wants to keep the shuttle in play and goes for the odd shot, so I wanted to stay there and not give him easy points. "I was in control at the net". He is also the first Indian male badminton player to do so. Shi seemed lost for ideas as Srikanth's vast experience and superior net play meant that he had to play out of his comfort zone. Srikanth bagged a couple of lucky points to extend his supremacy to 14-8, but with time running out, Yuqi showed signs of life by winning the next three points. Shi scored three consecutive points thereafter, using his speed to his advantage. The Indian never looked back from there as he sealed off a comfortable victory.

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South Korea have been regular qualifiers even if they have a modest record at the finals themselves. The KFA has not decided who will take over as coach for the final two qualifiers.

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