In 2014, Kidambi Srikanth was the rising sensation of Indian and world badminton. But no one expected him to even have a chance of competing with arguably the greatest male badminton player of all time, Lin Dan, in the final of the 2014 edition of the China Open. Not only did Srikanth compete with Dan, he stunned him to lift his maiden China Open title, to cap one of the greatest triumphs in Indian badminton history.
The then 21-year-old from Andhra Pradesh showed nerves of steel to produce a dominating and a career-defining performance which helped him see off five-time world champion Lin Dan, 21-19 21-17 in the men’s singles final in only 46 minutes.
He followed Saina Nehwal’s triumph at the same tournament, becoming the second Indian to win the historic and prestigious China Open title.
Srikanth would grow from strength to strength after the tournament, becoming a consistent performer on the men’s circuit and his playing style would draw praise from none other than Lin Dan himself.
It was certainly a golden generation for Indian badminton with Saina Nehwal and K Srikanth performing consistently well and PV Sindhu starting to emerge on the women’s circuit.