India's campaign in the Hong Kong Super Series came to an end after young shuttler Kidambi Srikanth suffered a three-game loss to top seed Chen Long of China in the semi-finals of the men's singles event of the USD 350,000 event in Hong Kong on Saturday.
Srikanth, who broke into the top 10 on Thursday following his historic win at the China Open Super Series Premier, went down 17-21, 21-19, 6-21 to world champion Chen in a match that lasted over an hour in Kowloon.
Srikanth had lost to Chen at the BWF World Championships in August but the Indian played a better game on Saturday to clinch the second game before losing steam in the decider.
In the opening game, Chen zoomed to a 10-3 lead early on and Srikanth was left to do the catching-up job. He narrowed it down to a point's lead at 16-17.
Srikanth lost a few points at the net as Chen moved to the game point with a mid court smash and soon pocketed the opening game when Srikanth hit the nets again.
In the second game, Srikanth struggled with the length early on and missed a few points hitting out as Chen led 4-0.
Srikanth clawed back at 8-8 with the help of a smash and then moved ahead when Chen found the net.
Though Chen clinched the lead again with some brilliant net play, Srikanth managed to enter the interval 11-10 ahead.
The rallies continued after the break as both preyed on mistakes. Srikanth played some attacking shots to extend the lead to 14-11.
Srikanth was calm even in difficult situations and played an intelligent game to slowly carve out a 17-13 lead.
The experienced Chinese kept breathing down his neck but the Indian wriggled out of some tricky situations to lead 18-16.
Chen erased the deficit but two erratic shots from him took Srikanth to 20-19 and the Indian grabbed the opportunity to bounce back in the contest when Chen hit long.
In the decider, Chen unleashed his power-packed smashes and anticipated the shots better to dominate the rallies and lead 11-4 at the interval.
Srikanth continued to struggle after the breather as Chen had answers for all the tricky net dribbles and disguised strokes which the Indian threw at him.
Srikanth also committed too many unforced errors, hitting wide and long to hand over a massive 20-6 lead and then buried one into the net as Chen celebrated.