India’s campaign at the Hylo Open BWF World Tour Super 500 badminton tournament came to an end in Saarbrücken, Germany on Saturday.
Former champions Kidambi Srikanth and Lakshya Sen produced their best but it was not enough against an inspired opponent.
Kidambi Srikanth went down fighting against second seed Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia 19-21, 20-22 in a pulsating encounter which lasted 44 minutes.
Earlier in the day, Lakshya Sen’s sensational run was halted by Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew 18-21, 12-21 in 46 minutes.
Srikanth fails to capitalize on 5-point lead in second game against second seed
Srikanth lost both games narrowly against World No. 8 Lee Zii Jia. World No. 15 Srikanth matched his higher-ranked opponent throughout the match. It was only a matter of a few points which separated the winner from the loser.
28-year-old Srikanth was tied with the Malaysian player with scores reading 19-19 in the first game. A costly net chord and bad line judgment by Srikanth helped Lee Ziia Jia clinch the first game 21-10.
Former World No. 1 Srikanth was going great guns in the second game. After leading 11-9 at the break, Srikanth was comfortably placed at 15-10.
However, Srikanth blew a five-point lead in the second game. Lee Zii Jia reeled off seven successive points to take a couple of points lead.
Srikanth did not give up till the end. Ace India Shuttler saved two match points to level the score at 20-20. Just like in the first game, Srikanth conceded two points in a row at the crucial juncture which enabled the Malaysian to claim a 22-20 victory.
A powerful forehand cross-court shot by Lee Zii Jia landed inches wide of the outstretched hands of Srikanth to complete a tense win.
Srikanth had a lot of trouble with Lee Zii Jia’s forehand cross-court jump smashes and also his wristy deceptive flicks.
Lakshya Sen’s splendid winning streak ended by young Singaporean
Lakshya Sen lost to Loh Kean Yew of Singapore 18-21, 12-21 in 46 minutes. The unseeded Lakshya matched Loh Kean Yew in the fast-paced rallies but he lacked finishing as he went down to 39th ranked Loh.
It was Lakshya’s second defeat to 24-year-old Loh in three meetings in 2021. 20-year-old Lakshya avenged his Dutch Open final loss to Loh with a straight-game win at the French Open last month.
In a well-contested semi-final outing between the two unseeded players on Saturday, Loh showed better discipline and accuracy to shatter Lakshya’s bid to regain the title.
On Friday, Lakshya registered a stunning 21-18, 12-21, 21-19 win over three-time junior world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand to reach the semis.
Indian Results (Semi-finals)
6-Kidambi Srikanth lost to 2-Lee Zii Jia (Malaysia) 19-21, 20-22 (44 minutes)
Lakshya Sen lost to Loh Kean Yew (Singapore) 18-21, 12-21 (46 minutes).