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Japan Open 2018: Kidambi Srikanth the last Indian standing as PV Sindhu, HS Prannoy crash out

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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514   //    13 Sep 2018, 22:33 IST

Total BWF World Championships 2018 - Day 3
Kidambi Srikanth

Seventh seed Kidambi Srikanth was left the last Indian standing at the Japan Open 2018 as PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy both crashed out of this Super 750 tournament in Tokyo on Thursday. In doubles too, India’s challenge came to an end with the defeats of the men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri-Sumeeth Reddy and the mixed doubles combine of Pranaav Jerry Chopra-Sikki Reddy.

Srikanth managed to avenge his Asian Games second round defeat to Wong Wing ki Vincent in style. The World No. 8 was completely in control right from the start and was a totally different player from the error-prone version of himself that turned up in Jakarta last month.

The India No. 1 men’s singles shuttler was able to open a big lead and then steadily kept on building on it as he beat the Hong Kong ace 21-15, 21-14 in 36 minutes.

In the quarter-finals on Friday, Srikanth will face the World No. 33 Lee Dong Keun of Korea.

Third seed PV Sindhu joined top seed and Asian Games champion Tai Tzu Ying on the sidelines on a day of upsets in Tokyo. Sindhu looked totally fatigued and played an error-ridden game, showing the effects of a hectic schedule that saw her reaching the finals of the both the World Championships and the Asian Games.

She did manage to mount a comeback for a brief period in the first game against the World No. 14 Gao Fangjie. From 2-8 down, she clawed her way back into the game and levelled the score at 13-13.

She even went up 16-14 only to allow an inspired Gao to storm back through a combined effort of Gao’s aggressive display and Sindhu’s errors. The Chinese made it 18-18 and then bagged the first game 21-18.

In the second game, Sindhu made a strong start and led 7-3. The joy was short-lived as the young Chinese won the next eight points to snatch the advantage from Sindhu. The Indian made a last push when she was five match points down. With an array of attacking shots, she saved four of them but Gao got the win, anyway, with the help of a huge smash.

Fangjie needed 55 minutes to secure the 21-18, 21-19 win over Sindhu. This is her second consecutive victory over the Indian.

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Asian Championships bronze medallist HS Prannoy too could not keep his errors at bay and went down 14-21, 17-21 to the World No. 10 Anthony Sinisuka Ginting.

A day after upsetting the World No. 10 and Rio Olympic silver medallists Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong, Indian national men’s doubles champions Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy fought valiantly but went down 18-21, 21-16, 12-21 to China’s He Jiting and Tan Qiang.

Chopra and Reddy fell 16-21, 16-21 to the Malaysian combine of Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying in mixed doubles.

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