Top Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth squandered away an early advantage against the reigning Olympic Champion Chen Long of China to depart from the quarterfinals in straight games 18-21, 19-21at the Malaysia Open in Kuala Lumpur.
Before the match, Chen Long enjoyed a superlative 5-1 win-loss advantage over the Indian and maintained his supremacy against the lone Indian left in the fray at the Malaysia Open after the others made an early exit.
Srikanth, though, started well and was leading for the most part in the first game, and had a 13-7 advantage at one stage but the Rio Olympic Gold medalist upped the ante and went on a 4-point spree when Srikanth was found struggling at the net on more than one occasion, to overtake the Indian and take home the first game without losing a game point at 21-18.
The second game saw both the players split initial 12 points at 6-6 until Chen Long made parity and took the game to 11-7 at the break. And, after the resumption, the lead stretched to 16-8 but the Indian No.1 made a valiant effort to equalize at 18-18 after winning four successive points. The Chinese then kept the composure to send the Indian packing in a thriller of a game.
The loss summed India’s lackluster campaign at the Malaysia Open where none managed to reach even the last four, with Saina, HS Prannoy and Sameer out in the first round, Sindhu in the second round.
With the Olympics qualification period looming this form does not augur well for India's prospect for the 2020 event.
About the Author
Suposh Sharma, keenly follows Hockey, Athletics, and other Olympic sports. He also has a penchant for writing humour and is an avid traveller