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Kidambi Srikanth knocked out of Japan Open by world No.33 Lee Dong Keun

India Today logo India Today 14-09-2018 IndiaToday.in
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World No.8 Kidambi Srikanth bowed out of the Japan Open after losing to world No.33 Lee Dong Keun of Korea on Friday.

Srikanth shock loss 1-2 to the Korean at the quarter-finals stage brings and end to India's campaign at the Japan Open.

The seventh seeded Srikanth started the game on a positive note and took the first game 21-19 after a brave fight from the Korean. In the second game, Dong came back stronger and took the lead in the mid-game break at 11-5. Srikanth did try to make a comeback but it failed flat as the Korean took the second game 21-16.

In the third and deciding game, Dong again looked the stronger player and took a 6-4 lead after 10 points were played but Srikanth rallied on and levelled it at 9-9 but failed to take the lead in the mid-game break. From there, it was neck-to-neck competition until 15-15 but the Korean took two points straight and made it 17-5. The pressure mounted on Srikanth and he couldn't make a comeback and ultimately lost the game 18-21 and crashed out of the tournament.

The loss could well affect Srikanth's rankings in the next cycle. He retained his eighth spot in the BWF rankings released on Thursday despite his early exit at the Asian Games.

On Thursday, PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy were knocked out of the Japan Open in the round of 16 after losing in straight games.

Sindhu lost 18-21, 19-21 to world No.14 Gao Fangjie of China, while Prannoy lost to world No.10 Anthony Ginting of Indonesia 14-21, 17-21.

Ginting had defeated formidable Japanese Kento Momota and Olympic champion Chen Long at the Asian Games.

Sindhu was seeded third, and had easily won her first round match against world No.13 Sayaka Takahashi 21-17, 7-21, 21-13 on Wednesday. Incidentally Sindhu had played Gao only once previously, where she lost in straight games (21-11, 21-10) at the China Open.

The Indian put up a decent fight as she recovered from 2-8 down in the opening game but squandered a 17-14 lead. She was also 15-20 down in the second game but managed to save four match points before once again hitting the net to hand over the match to Gao.

In doubles, the men's pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy lost 18-21 21-16 12-21 to China's He Jiting and Tan Qiang, while the mixed combination of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy lost 16-21 16-21 to the Malaysian pair of Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying in another match.

In women's singles, Gao relied on her deception to trouble Sindhu early on and took a 8-2 lead. But Sindhu slowly got her bearings, reaching the shuttles early and placing them perfectly.

She put Gao on the wrong foot to narrow the lead to 8-10 but a weak return going to the net gave a three-point advantage to the Chinese.

Two unforced errors by Gao brought Sindhu back at 13-13. She grabbed a 17-14 lead but it soon vaporised with the Indian committing a few errors.

In the second game, Sindhu opened up a 5-0 lead before committing a service error. Gao soon dominated the rallies and clawed back at 7-7 after producing a winner on Sindhu's weak return.

Gao continued to dominate the rallies and soon grabbed five match points at 20-15. Sindhu saved four before hitting the net again to end her campaign.

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