PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth bow out in semis at Malaysia Open badminton
The Indian campaign came to an end at the $700,000 Malaysia Open badminton tournament on Saturday as Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu lost their respective semi-finals in contrasting fashion in Bukit Jalil, a suburb or Kuala Lumpur.
Sindhu went down 15-21, 21-19, 11-21 in 55 minutes to women’s singles World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying as the Chinese Taipei girl took a dominant 9-3 advantage in career meetings with the victory. The top seed has now won five successive matches against the Hyderabadi, who last won against Tai at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Seeded third, Sindhu gave a tough fight to Tai in the first game. Neck-and-neck at 13-12, the top seed displayed her prowess to win the eight of the next 11 points played to take the crucial first game lead in the contest.
Sindhu fought back strongly in the second game, elongating the rallies. At 19-all, Tai made two uncharacteristic errors which put the shuttle beyond the side line to help Sindhu pocket the second game and push the match into the decider at the Axiata Arena.
The defending champion completely upped the ante in the deciding game as Sindhu proved no match for the World No.1. Smashes from Tai just were too good and could not be retrieved and as the top seed led 11-6 at the break.
It was only a matter of time before the girl from Chinese Taipei closed the game in her favour to enter the final.
Srikanth too exits
Earlier, Srikanth went down in straight games to the in-form Kento Momota of Japan in the men’s singles semi-finals of the BWF World Tour Super 750 tournament.
Srikanth, who had reached World No.1 briefly in April, couldn’t match the overall superior game of Momota, who has been in sensational form since making a comeback after serving a one-year ban for illegal gambling.
After a 42-minute battle, Srikanth lost 13-21, 13-21 to World No.11 Momota, who registered his 21st consecutive win here and sixth victory against the Indian in nine meetings.
Momota was quick on his feet and produced some excellent shots mixed with deception, to dominate the rallies. His smashes had power and precision to make life difficult for Srikanth.
Srikanth and Momota went neck-and-neck from 3-3 to 5-5 before the Japanese rode on his deception and better court coverage to open up a 10-7 lead. Srikanth won a good rally but the Japanese had his nose ahead at the break when Srikanth was bamboozled by a tight net shot.
The left-handed Japanese produced some superb shots from the back of the court to move to a 13-8 lead. Momota continued to accumulate points, surging to 17-12 thereafter.
Srikanth misjudged a shot at the back line to hand over game points to Momota, who sealed it with another precise net shot.
With Momota in full flow, the margin for error was miniscule and the Japanese pounced on every opportunity to lead 5-1 after the change of sides.
Srikanth built the rallies well but often erred with the length and miscued strokes as Momota moved into the breather at 11-5. The Japanese continued to rule the roost and quickly moved to seven match points when Srikanth found the net. Another net error and it was over for the Indian.
(With inputs from agencies)