Home >sports >olympics-news >Rio Olympics: Shuttler Kidambi Srikanth goes out fighting

Rio de Janeiro: India’s Kidambi Srikanth went down fighting against two-time defending champion Lin Dan in the quarter-finals of the men’s singles badminton event at the Rio Olympics on Wednesday.

The 21-year-old from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, who had defeated the five-time World Champion from China in the 2014 China Open final, suffered a 6-21, 21-11, 18-21 loss against the World No.3 Chinese in a nerve-wracking match that lasted an hour and four minutes.

Lin Dan will now face long-time rival and two-time Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in a semi-final clash. The top seed beat sixth seed Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei 21-9, 21-15.

With his quarter-final finish Wednesday, Srikanth remained the second Indian male shuttler to reach the quarter-finals after Parupalli Kashyap achieved the feat at the London Games. A former World No.3, Srikanth seemed nervous early on and was totally outclassed in the lop-sided opening game which lasted just 16 minutes. Srikanth struggled with his net play early on to allow Lin Dan lead 4-1 in the first game. The left-handed Chinese continued to dominate with his controlled stroke play as he engaged in long rallies with the Indian to lead 10-1 after winning a video referral.

With Srikanth once again hitting long, Lin Dan entered the interval at 11-1. After the break, Srikanth tried to get a hold on his nerves and played long rally but always ended up hitting a wayward shot as Lin Dan continued to surge ahead. In the end, it was two unforced errors that gifted the game to the Chinese.

There was a visible change in Srikanth’s demeanour in the second game as he raced to a 6-3 lead. His strokes got better as he caught the celebrated Chinese off guard a few times with his angled returns and held a six-point advantage at the interval. He tried to engage Lin Dan in long rallies with some deep corner returns and then came up with some sublime winners to lead 15-8. The Indian missed a video referral to allow Lin Dan a point but his next forehand smash caught Lin Dan napping.

The Chinese again hit long as Srikanth led 17-9. A cross court backhand return earned Srikanth another point and with the Chinese going long again, meant he had a 10-game point advantage. One smash went wide but Srikanth roared back into the contest with a superb return at the forecourt.

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