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Last Updated Tuesday December 12 2017 02:18 AM IST

Sai Praneeth wins his maiden GP title

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Sai Praneeth Sai Praneeth is ecstatic after winning the final against Kidambi Srikanth on Sunday. Getty Images

Singapore City: B. Sai Praneeth clinched his maiden Super Series title by downing compatriot Kidambi Srikanth 17-21, 21-17, 21-12 in the Singapore Open final here on Sunday.

This was Praneeth's first appearance in a Super Series final, the biggest events on the international badminton calendar.

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Previously, Saina Nehwal, P.V. Sindhu and Srikanth have won the coveted crown.

Until Sunday, only three other countries -- China, Indonesia and Denmark -- had been represented on both sides of the court in a Super Series final.

After losing the first game 17-21, Praneeth showed tremendous grit to come back from being 1-6 down to level 7-7.

Srikanth tied to assert his dominance with a superb smash down the line to take an 8-7 lead, but Praneeth seemed determined to go into the break 11-10, winning 10 of the 14 points on the bounce.

Leading 18-16, Praneeth showed great awareness to outfox Srikanth who relied on his smashes and netplay to dink the cork over his head when he was closer to the net for a sublime point.

Three game points to play for, Praneeth returned the favor this time with an identical 21-17 win to leave the match in the balance.

In the final game, Praneeth opened up a 10-4 lead and never looked back.

Sai Praneeth Sai Praneeth poses with the winner's trophy. Getty Images

Srikanth, who has a fair bit of experience having played in two finals and winning both - the 2015 India Open and 2014 China Open, never looked settled after the first game. It was Praneeth's all round play and array of strokes that pinned his rival down.

"It's a great feeling," an elated Praneeth said later. "I practice with him (Srikanth), so we know each other's game very well. It was a really tough match.

"I have been playing well in this tournament and the final win is very special. My hard work had paid off," the 24-year-old added.

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