Fuzhou (China), Nov 16: Newly crowned China Open champion Kidambi Srikanth Sunday "gifted" his Super Series Premier title to India's chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand on his 41st birthday.
Sunday turned out to be a watershed moment in Indian badminton's history as for the first time two titles are coming home from a Super Series event. While Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal clinched the women's singles crown beating Japan's Akane Yamaguchi, Srikanth downed five-time World Champion Lin Dan to clinch the men's title.
"To beat Lin Dan in a final is a dream come true. I just played my 100 per cent because there was nothing to lose. Before coming here, I was playing well. When I beat my compatriot RMV Gurusaidutt in the first round, I felt confident because it's always tough to beat a player who knows you well. I just wanted to win each round that I played," said the 21-year-old Srikanth.
"As I got close to a second game win, I just told myself to focus on the next point, since I have lost a few matches while leading. Today's my coach Pullela Gopichand's birthday, so this title is a gift to him," added Srikanth, who had lost his previous two outings against the two-time Olympic champion.
For 'Super' Dan, the defeat was his first in a final since the 2012 Korea Open to Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia.
"I'm glad to be in the final, it's a pity I could not win. I was injured during the last month, so getting into the final made me happy. Srikanth played positively. The loss of the first game affected my mood. I hadn't practised the last few weeks, so I could not adjust my game," Dan said.