Axelsen downs Srikanth to claim India Open title


New Delhi (AFP)

Danish giant Viktor Axelsen outplayed home favourite Kidambi Srikanth in straight games to clinch the India Open badminton title on Sunday.

World number four Axelsen pulled off his shirt in jubilant celebration as he beat Srikanth 21-7, 22-18 in 36 minutes at Delhi's Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium.

In the women's singles, Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon served past He Bingjiao of China 21-15, 21-14 to claim her third Indian title of the BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament.

But it was the men's singles that drew maximum interest with Srikanth being the lone Indian hope in the $350,000 event after women's star PV Sindhu lost in the semi-finals.

Axelsen, who was top seed by default after the last-minute pullout of defending champion Shi Yuqi of China, started with a bang after taking the first game.

But Srikanth, who played his first final of a BWF world tour event in 17 months, came back in the second game to match the tall Dane with some good returns as he led 20-18.

Axelsen saved the two game points to win the match and cap off an excellent month after being runners-up at the All England championship in Birmingham. He had the lost the final to world number one Kento Momota of Japan.

It was Axelsen's second India Open crown after he won in 2017.

Earlier the fourth-seeded Ratchanok registered her first win against Bingjiao, ranked seventh in the world, in five women's singles meetings.

Ratchanok bounced back after losing the first game to upstage Bingjiao who had taken down last-year champion Zhang Beiwen in the quarter-finals.