Denmark Open: Srikanth in semis; Saina, Prannoy exit
Kidambi Srikanth (Image credit-AMP · India Today - India Today Group)
Odense: In what was an mix day for Indian Badminton at the Denmark Open, ace shuttler Kidambi Srikanth remained in the contention for a medal after defeating World Champion Viktor Axelsen 14-21, 22-20, 21-7 to enter the semi-finals. The Australian Open champion, courtesy the win remained India’s only hope for a medal at the event after World Championships bronze medalists Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy crushed out of the tournament after losing their respective quarter-finals at the Odense Sports Park on Friday.
The eight seeded Indian despite losing the first set 14-21, stunned the local hero with his clever net play and brilliant smashes to seal the match in only 56 minutes despite going into the third set. His comeback in the second round despite going behind was commendable as he completed the closely fought set 22-20 before outclassing World no. 1 quite comfortably in the third set to book his place in the semis.
The 24-year-old not only continued his progress win the win but also avenged his defeat against the Dane at the World Championships and the Japan Open. Srikanth will next meet Wong Wing Ki Vincent from Hong Kong in the semis.
London Olympics bronze medalists Saina Nehwal however stood a no match against the defending champion Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, who beat her 10-21, 13-21 in straight sets in a game that lasted just 29 minutes. Her loss also ended India’s campaign in the women’s singles as another shuttler PV Sindhu had earlier been knocked out in the pre -quarterfinals.
Forced to play late at midnight due to a power failure at the stadium, Saina looked exhausted throughout the match. Her movements were sluggish as she failed to keep up with the pace of the Japanese Yamaguchi eventually losing the match.
“I did not get enough time to rest; have never played a match at 2 am. It has never happened. Never slept at 3 am. I was sluggish. My movement was not good. But I should say Yamaguchi also played really well. She has got a good game, she has been consistent,” said a disappointed Saina after the match.
Meanwhile US Open champion HS Prannoy was also knocked out of the tournament by the top seeded Korean Son Wan Ho 13-21, 18-21 despite putting up a tough fight. Prannoy lost the first game easily but came back strongly in the second game almost winning it, before losing 18-21 in a game that lasted 44 minutes.