Rising Indian badminton player Kiran George won his second BWF World Tour Super 100 title, lifting the Indonesia Masters trophy with a hard-fought straight game win over Japan's Koo Takahashi in men's singles final on Sunday.
The 23-year-old from Kochi, who had won his first title at Odisha Open last year, beat the world No 82 Takahashi 21-19, 22-20 in a 56-minute battle.
The world No 50 fell 1-4 behind at the start of the match but slowly caught up with Takahashi at 8-8 before gaining a two-point lead at the interval. A tight fight ensued before the Indian jumped to an 18-15 lead. Takahashi slowly reduced the deficit to 19-20 before the Indian sealed the opening game.
After the change of sides, the duo once again engaged in a close battle, moving together till 6-6 when Kiran slowly managed to move ahead 16-11. Takahashi, however, kept breathing down his neck and managed to draw level at 19-19. But Kiran kept his nerves to convert his second game point after squandering the first.
Indonesia Masters Champion 🥇
Many Congratulations to Kiran George for winning his second Super 100 title✨👏
He defeated Japan's Koo Takahashi by 21-19, 22-20
- BAI Media (@BAI_Media) September 10, 2023
"It is an excellent win, it is about converting these chances and consistently playing well. Other players are young and equally good, so I'm quite pleased with him," Vimal Kumar, the director of Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy (PPBA) and former chief national coach, told PTI.
"Now it is about not to relax but continue his preparation as he is travelling to Hong Kong. He has nothing to lose, so he should look to create upsets."
On way to the final, Kiran defeated veteran Tommy Sugiarto 23-21, 16-21, 21-8, Thailand's Panitchaphon Teeraratsakul, Japan's Takuma Obayashi, Singapore's Jia Wei Joel Koh and Chinese Taipei's Huang Yu Kai in the earlier rounds. Super 100 is the lowest level on the BWF tour, and this tournament happened at the same time as the China Open Super 1000, where India's top players were in action.
"He has been playing well for a while now and I really feel Kiran, Mithun they are the next line of players. They needed to make a breakthrough by beating good players and it is a good sign that they are doing well," Vimal said.
"I feel once the seniors like HS Prannoy and Kidambi Sriknath go out, they can be replaced by them.".
Kiran, son of former national champion George Thomas, had won the Odisha Open and Polish Open, while finishing runner-up at Denmark Masters last year.
Kiran, who reached a career high ranking of No 43 in January this year, showed his prowess when he had defeated top Chinese players Shi Yuqi and Weng Hongyang at Thailand Open Super 500 in earlier this year.