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Malaysia Open: Indian challenge over, Kidambi Srikanth exits

Srikanth went down in straight games 18-21, 19-21 in the 48-minute contest.

PTI Reported by: PTI
Kuala Lumpur Updated on: April 05, 2019 15:30 IST
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Malaysia Open: Indian challenge over, Kidambi Srikanth exits

A fighting Kidambi Srikanth suffered a straight-game loss to Olympic champion Chen Long of China to bow out of the men's singles quarterfinals at the Malaysia Open on Friday.

The eighth-seeded Indian, who had reached the finals of India Open last week, blew a huge advantage in the opening game to eventually lose the quarterfinal match 18-21 19-21. 

This was Srikanth's fourth quarterfinal of the season. 

Srikanth blew a 16-11 advantage in the opening game, while in the second game he fought back from 7-11 down to level scores at 19-19 before ending up on the losing side. 

The 26-year-old had a 1-5 head-to-head record against Chen Long, whom he had defeated in their last meeting at the 2017 Australian Open.

The Chinese showed great defence, playing some exceptional shots like a between-the-legs return to keep the spectators entertained at the Kuala Lumpur Sports City.

In the first game, the Indian opened up a 11-7 lead at the first break. He kept his nose ahead till 16-11 before Chen started slowly clawing back into the contest.

In the second game, Srikanth kept himself close to the Chinese before Chen unleashed a down-the-line smash to grab a 11-7 lead at the breather. 

Srikanth made some simple errors like misjudging line calls, hitting wide and long and also mistiming shots as Chen led 16-8.

The Indian won a long rally when Chen went wide and then the Chinese lost a couple of more points near the net before attacking the Indians backhand to reach 17-11.

Srikanth kept breathing down Chen's neck and reduced the margin to 17-18 with the Chinese falling in a heap of errors.

The Indian levelled the scores at 18-all and was 19-19 when Chen hit another long shot.

But the Chinese sent one at the backline to move to match point and sealed it when a fighting Srikanth dived full stretch but couldn't keep the shuttle in. 

The Indian challenge came to an end in the Malaysia Open 2019 as Kidambi Srikanth lost his quarter-final match to Olympic champion Chen Long of China here on Friday.

Srikanth went down in straight games 18-21, 19-21 in the 48-minute contest.

The 26-year-old was the lone Indian left in the tournament as ace shuttlers P.V. Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and H.S. Prannoy had crashed out earlier.

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