October 2018
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Japan Open 2018: Indian campaign ends with Kidambi Srikanth’s defeat in quarter-finals
(Tokyo, Sep 14, 2018):The Indian campaign came to an end at the Japan Open 2018 after Kidambi Srikanth crashed out in the quarter-finals of this Super 750 tournament in Tokyo, Japan on Friday. The seventh seeded men’s singles shuttler squandered a one-game lead to go down 21-19, 16-21, 18-21 to World No. 33 Lee Dong Keun in a gruelling encounter that lasted 1 hour 18 minutes.

Srikanth showed his comeback skills when he erased a 2-4 deficit in the early stages of the opener to jump to a 9-5 lead. Even though the Korean did manage to claw his way back into the game afterwards, the determined Indian was able to keep him away before closing out the first game.

The second game turned out to be competitive in the initial stages and the two were locked at 5-5. It was then where the complexion of the match changed. Srikanth’s unforced errors allowed the Korean to grab the next seven points and surge ahead to 12-5. Lee did not relent from thereon as he was able to take the second game and level the match.

In the decider, the two were evenly poised until 14-14. Lee steadily kept on increasing the lead after that with measured play while Srikanth’s mounting error count and lack of patience did him in.

It was still a good performance from the World No. 8 Indian, who has been having a very quiet season after his career-best 2017. The highlights of 2018 so far for the Guntur-born shuttler have been a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games and a semi-final finish at the Malaysia Open.

At the Japan Open, he managed to avenge his Asian Games defeat to Wong Wing Ki Vincent. Besides, he was also the best-performing Indian at this Super 750 tournament after PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy both exited the event in the second round.

Hopefully, this will give him a huge boost of confidence before next week’s mega Super 1000 tournament in China.

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