Denmark Open 2020: Kidambi Srikanth enters second round; Ajay Jayaram, Subhankar Dey out

Kidambi Srikanth in action at the Denmark Open 2020 on Wednesday
Kidambi Srikanth in action at the Denmark Open 2020 on Wednesday

On a day of mixed fortunes for India, 2017 champion Kidambi Srikanth progressed into the second round of the $750,000 Denmark Open 2020, but Ajay Jayaram and Subhankar Dey bit the dust. The former World No. 1 staved off a late surge from World No. 52 Toby Penty for a 21-12, 21-18 victory that took 37 minutes to complete.

Kidambi Srikanth, thus, became the only other Indian to make it through to the second round after former Asian junior champion Lakshya Sen booked his place in the pre-quarter-finals a day before.

Later in the day, former World No. 13 Jayaram was shown the door by the third seed Anders Antonsen 21-12, 21-14 while the 46th-ranked Dey was outplayed by the World No. 49 Jason Anthony Ho-Shue 21-13, 21-8.

A four-member squad is representing India this time at this prestigious Super 750 event after BWF finally gave the green signal to start tournaments. With the Thomas & Uber Cup and the Denmark Masters getting cancelled, the Denmark Open remains the only major tournament for shuttlers to compete after the long pandemic-induced break.

From India, Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap and PV Sindhu made last-minute withdrawals, leaving Srikanth, Sen, Jayaram, and Dey as the only shuttlers from the country vying for glory at Odense.

Kidambi Srikanth during a training session in Denmark
Kidambi Srikanth during a training session in Denmark

After tasting success at this venue in 2017, Kidambi Srikanth's subsequent few seasons were marred by a spate of injuries and indifferent form. Having used the long break to sharpen his game and build on his fitness, the former numero uno player made a bright start against Penty whom he had got the better of at the 2013 Thailand Open.

Banking on his aggressive game and exquisite touch at the net, the fifth seed opened up an 8-2 gap. His southpaw opponent managed to produce some lefty down-the-line smashes to close the gap to just five points at 11-16. But Kidambi Srikanth was able to accelerate from thereon as he pocketed the first game 21-12.

The second game turned out to be more competitive with the Englishman enjoying a lead for the most part. More firepower put him ahead of Srikanth by four points at 11-7 and it took the Indian some smart thinking and some variation in the pace of the shuttle to get back into the game.

After levelling the score at 14-14, the World No. 14 inched ahead and clinched the win with a huge jumping crosscourt smash.

Ho-Shue up next for Kidambi Srikanth

On Thursday, Kidambi Srikanth will lock horns with Subhankar Dey's conqueror, Ho-Shue and Sen will take on the Danish veteran Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus in their quest for a spot in the quarterfinals.

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Edited by S Chowdhury
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