Korea Masters: Srikanth, Sameer exit, Indian challenge ends
Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma suffered straight-game losses in the men’s singles second round to bring down curtains on Indian challenge at the Gwangju Korea Masters on Thursday. Sixth seed Srikanth, who had shown signs of regaining his form with a semifinal finish at Hong Kong Open last week, exited the BWF World Tour Super 300 tournament with a 14-21 19-21 loss to Japan’s world No 14 Kanta Tsuneyama.
Sameer then fought for 40 minutes before going down 19-21 12-21 to local shuttler Kim Donghun, who is currently ranked 112th in the world.Srikanth, who has slipped to world No 11 in the BWF ranking, had never faced Tsuneyama before but the Indian made a good start, opening up a 5-1 lead.
The Japanese then came up with four points to level par. Srikanth managed to move to 10-8 but Tsuneyama jumped to a 14-10 lead with six straight points. The Japanese kept surging ahead to pocket the opening game comfortably.
In the second game, Tsuneyama rose to 8-5 lead before entering the interval with a 11-9 lead. The Japanese then made his way to 17-12 before Srikanth narrowed it down to 16-17 and then 19-20. However, Tsuneyama had the last laugh in the end.
In another match, Sameer was 8-4 ahead in the opening game against Kim but the Korean turned the tables, reaching 10-9 before the Indian managed to held on to a 11-10 advantage at the break.
Sameer again clawed back the lead at 14-12 but Kim kept fighting and soon earned the bragging rights after claiming the opening game.
Kim grabbed a 6-3 lead early in the second game and despite a gallant fight by Sameer, the Korean broke off after the breather to keep moving ahead even as Sameer crumbled under pressure.