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Srikanth's hot streak makes him the man to beat in Glasgow

Eight weeks ago, and outside the world’s top 25, Kidambi Srikanth would have been one of a clutch of male shuttlers harbouring hopes, albeit distant title winning ones, of upsetting the world order in Glasgow.

Two Superseries titles to his name, the Indian would have been looking for a good showing to build on his Olympic quarter final finish from Rio but few would have marked him down as a real contender for the world crown.

Roll forward through Singapore, Indonesia and then Australia on the world tour and the Indian number one is in such a run of form, overpowering all around him, that the sports’ supposed pretenders for World Championships glory will be looking over their shoulder as they prepare for Glasgow. 

Back-to-back Superseries titles in Indonesia and Australia, following up another final in Singapore are impressive enough as a hot streak but it has been the nature of those victories that will make him the one to beat for the World crowd.

He is currently unbeaten in 10 matches and has tasted defeat just once – to Sai Praneeth in April - in his last 15.

In Sydney he has revelled in the Australian sunshine, beating 2017 YONEX All England finalist and world number four Shu Yuqi as well as Chen Long – a first win in six against the reigning world champion - in the final.  Add that to wins over Jan O Jorgensen last week in Indonesia and twice in 12 days against the new world number one Son Won Ho and Srikanth is showing every inch of the scintillating form that saw him reach a world best 3 two years ago.

Some will argue he is still to overcome Lin Dan, Viktor Axelsen and significantly Lee Chong Wei in recent times – but Srikanth has proved the old adage correct: you can only play, and beat, those put in front of you.

He’s yet to register a career win against Lee Chong Wei but critics said that of his record against Chen Long going into Sunday’s final.


He holds a 2-2 head to head against Axelsen and, in recent weeks, has totally reversed a head to head record against Son Won Ho which had seen the Korean win their last four meetings.

And it is often forgotten that Srikanth shot to the attentions of the badminton world when he recorded a historic first Superseries win by an Indian male shuttler by beating Lin Dan in his own backyard, at the China Open no less.

Each way you look at it, this is most definitely a hot streak and at 24, Srikanth will head to the Emirates in the form of his life.

In fact, arguably this time around his 2017 Worlds challenge be better suited than when seeded 3 two years ago. A early exit in the last 16 stage to Hu Yun was tagged a surprise by many but a then-unseeded Lee Chong Wei had laid in wait at the quarter final stage.

For 2017, the Indian has re-entered the world’s top 10. It will act as timely reminder to all around him of his unquestioned ability. But whether it serves as a wake up call to find ways to combat a change in playing style and gameplan that now incorporates a desire to go the distance in rallies, only time will tell.