CHANGZHO: Top shuttlers P V Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth lost their quarterfinal matches on Friday, drawing the curtains on India’s campaign at the $1 million China Open BWF World Tour Super 1000 tournament in Changzhou.
After Srikanth was ousted 9-21 11-21 by reigning world champion Kento Momota of Japan, third seed Sindhu went down fighting 11-21 21-11 15-21 to World No. 6 Chen Yufei of China in a hard-fought contest, which lasted 52 minutes.
Sindhu had beaten the 20-year-old Chen four times in their last six meetings but on Friday she couldn’t curb her errors or find a way to break her opponent’s superior game plan.
In the opening game, Chen opened up a 6-3 lead. The Chinese produced some stunning strokes to grab a 11-5 lead with a powerful return which the Indian had no answers.
After the break, Sindhu took two points but there was a weak return at the net and another stroke went out. Sindhu’s errors, coupled with Chen’s superb placements, saw the Chinese move to 15-7.
Chen dictated the pace and punished any error from the Indian, who went out a few times. Eventually the Chinese sealed the game with a sharp smash.
After the change of ends, Sindhu tried to engage her opponent in rallies by varying the pace and it worked, as she led 6-1.
However, mental fatigue seemed to affect her judgements as Chen showed good reflexes and unleashed quick and precise strokes to narrow the lead to 5-6.
Chen shot a few shots wide, allowing Sindhu to make it 10-6. But she twice hit the net before a thunderous smash earned her a 11-8 advantage at the break.
The Indian extended the lead to 15-10. She tried to boost herself by celebrating each point and eventually roared back to contest when her rival hit long again.
In the decider, Chen stepped up the pace after an initial burst of points from Sindhu to lead 7-4. Chen maintained the three-point advantage at the breather.
Chen returned with a barrage of strokes on Sindhu’s backhand and, aided by the Indian’s errors, moved to a 14-8 lead.
Sindhu showed signs of recovery, pocketing four straight points, which included a crucial video referral, but she hit wide again as the score read 16-12 in Chen’s favour.
In the end, Sindhu hit a long shot followed by a return at the net, giving Chen five match points and she sealed it with another powerful smash.
Earlier, Srikanth, who had a 3-7 head-to-head record against Momota, couldn’t find a chink in Momota’s armour and went down without a fight against the world No.2 in a lop-sided contest.
Srikanth had lost to Momota at the Malaysia Open and Indonesia Open in June and July respectively.
The Indian was no match for Momota, who has been in sensational form since making a comeback after serving a one-year ban for visiting an illegal casino.
Srikanth lagged 1-5 initially. He recovered to 4-5 with three straight points, but couldn’t put up a fight as Momota surged to a huge 19-6 lead before pocketing the first game.
The second game was no different as Momota moved from 4-3 to 13-3 with nine straight points. He continued to dominate the proceedings to seal the contest without much effort.