K Srikanth became the latest badminton sensation to emerge from India as he lifted his maiden men's singles title with a stunning straight-game triumph over top-seeded local favourite Boonsak Ponsana at the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold in Bangkok on Sunday.
The 20-year-old from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh beat World No eight Ponsana 21-16, 21-12 in a 34-minute match to script the biggest win of his still nascent career.
"When I went into the court, I was pretty okay. I was not thinking anything. He was the local guy and the court was also with him. I knew I had a 50-50 chance even though he is World No eight ," the excited youngster said.
"I just wanted to give my 100 per cent. I was focusing on one point at a time and I knew it was all about who plays well on that particular day," he said.
The 13th-seeded Indian matched his fancied rival in all departments of the game in what turned out to be a lop-sided contest.
"The win has not sunk in. I am still pretty excited. I spoke to my parents and they are also very happy. I will be travelling to Hyderabad tonight and probably fly back to Singapore next Friday or Saturday," he said.
The first game went neck and neck before Srikanth broke free to notch up six consecutive points to win the game and wrest the initiative.
"The first game was tough. I was leading by 2-3 points from the start but in the end he was like 15-16 but he made some unforced errors as I played some attacking badminton. It worked as I got four points on the trot and that made all the difference," he said.
The second game was a completely one-sided affair with Srikanth scoring at ease. The Indian sent down nine smashes against his rival's three to stamp his authority in the match.
Ponsana had a two-point lead to start with but Srikanth made amends quite quickly to reel off eight successive points and seal the game and the match in his favour.
"In the second game I played pretty well, I was leading 11-5 and continued in the same vein. I didn't relax and stayed focussed. I could see that although the crowd was supporting him, he looked tense and turned on the pressure on him," he said.
Srikanth had previously reached the quarter-finals of the Asian Junior Championships and entered the prequarterfinals of the World Junior Championships in 2011.
Indian male shuttlers have been making quite a mark internationally of late. P Kashyap had won the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold last year.
Photograph: Alessia Pierdomenico/Reuters