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Hong Kong Open 2018: Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma lose to end Indian challenge

Kidambi Srikanth
Kidambi Srikanth

The Indian challenge came to an end in the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Open 2018 as both Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma crashed out of this Super 500 tournament on Friday. The fourth seeded Srikanth could not put up much resistance against the eighth seeded Kenta Nishimoto, eventually slumping to a 17-21, 13-21 loss in 44 minutes.

2016 runner-up Sameer Verma fought valiantly against the 47th ranked Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong but he too was unable to keep the momentum going in the decider as he went down 15-21, 21-19, 11-21 in 1 hour 13 minutes.

Verma had earlier got a walkover in the second round due to the late withdrawal of the fifth seed and reigning Olympic champion Chen Long.

A day after saving as many as four match points in a blockbuster second round clash with training partner HS Prannoy, Srikanth could not bring forth the same fighting spirit. The long match probably took its toll on the former World No. 1’s fitness for he lacked in sharpness a lot.

Nishimoto had the upper hand right from the start of the match even though Srikanth did fight back in between to draw level at 15-15 in the first game before the World No. 11 pushed ahead.

Srikanth fell behind in the second game as the Japanese raced ahead to 11-3. Nishimoto did not give him much space and moved ahead to 17-11 and grabbed the win soon after.

The badminton action now shifts to the Syed Modi International, a Super 300 tournament set to be held in Lucknow, India, from 20-25 November. PV Sindhu is the defending champion and she will try her best to end her 2018 season title drought at this tournament.

Sindhu, who has been to five finals this year, hasn't won a title since her Korea Open triumph in September last year. She is currently the only Indian among the best-eight this season who will get to play at the BWF World Tour Finals next month.

A strong show in Lucknow will boost her confidence before she faces the world's best in Guangzhou.

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Edited by Ram Kumar
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