Japan Open | Indian challenge comes ends as Srikanth goes down in quarters

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Japan Open | Indian challenge comes ends as Srikanth goes down in quarters

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SportsCafe Desk

09/23/2016

Kidambi Srikanth, who was the sole surviving Indian in the competition, was knocked out in the quarter-final of the Japan Open on Friday after a marathon battle against Germany's Marc Zwiebler. The Indian shuttler, the No.8 seed, lost the match 21-18, 14-21, 19-21 despite winning the first game.

After a valiant performance at the Rio Olympics, where he lost to Lin Dan in the quarters, Kidambi Srikant was pushed to the limits at the Japan Open. Such was the draw that the 23-year-old had to defeat two fellow Indian shuttlers on his way to the quarters. After edging out Parupalli Kashyap in a tense match on Wednesday, Kidambi Srikanth faced yet another Indian shuttler in the form of Ajay Jayaram in the second round. However, an injury to Jayaram, and his subsequent withdrawal after the first game, meant that Srikanth found himself in the last eight as the only Indian remaining in the competition.

The World No.14 took on Germany's Marc Zwiebler, World No. 15, and as the ranking suggests, there was hardly anything to choose between the two players. Srikanth, who had defeated Zwiebler in their last meeting at the China Open in 2014, came back from 4-11 down to win the first game 21-18 as he won 8 points in a row.

However, the German fought back strongly in the second game and despite Srikanth taking an early 6-4 lead in the game, Zwiebler went on to win it 21-14. The third game proved to be another marathon encounter, though, as both the players kept pushing each other. Srikanth had the lead for the most part of the game and was looking the likelier to win at 16-13. But a change in momentum saw the German win five points in a row and receive two match-points at 20-18. Srikanth saved the first one, but could do nothing about the second as he lost the game 21-19.

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