Axelsen ends Srikanth’s challenge; Malavika, Aakarshi also lost
Srikanth was leading 14-5 at one stage in the second game but could not hold on to the lead and went down 14-21 19-21 to the world No. His defeat left the audience present in the stadium very disappointed. In the second game, the spectators were boosting their spirits by clapping continuously.
India’s ace shuttler Kidambi Srikanth failed to recover from a poor run of form as he went down in straight games to Olympic and world champion Viktor Axelsen in his opening men’s singles match of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open Super 750 tournament here on Wednesday. Srikanth was leading 14-5 at one stage in the second game but could not hold on to the lead and went down 14-21 19-21 to the world No. His defeat left the audience present in the stadium very disappointed. In the second game, the spectators were boosting their spirits by clapping continuously.
Aakarshi, ranked 39 in the world rankings, and Malvika Bansod, ranked 34, also faced defeat in their opening matches. Aakarshi was defeated by Beiwen Zhang of America while Malvika was defeated by Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrung. While Aakarshi lost 15-21 12-21 to former champion Zhang, Malvika squandered an 11-8 lead in the opening game to go down 17-21 12-21 to the world No. 12.
With crowd support, former world number one Srikanth was taking advantage of Axelsen’s mistakes as he dominated the rallies. The Indian player tried to keep Axelsen in front of the net. Axelsen scored three points in a row before the break after the score was tied at 8-8. He fouled when he was leading 13-9. During this, Srikanth was showing strong game in the rallies but was not able to finish them properly.
Srikanth played two consecutive shots out of court to win the first game against Denmark. In the second game, Srikanth started aggressively and used powerful smashes to take his lead to 5-1. He followed up with two more smashes to extend his lead to 8-3. The Indian player had a seven-point lead at the break. Srikanth then extended his lead to 14-6 but again failed to maintain the momentum. He made several unforced errors which left him with a 15-13 lead.
Axelsen then leveled the score at 18-18 and then took two match points to win the match. In other matches of the day, second seed Li Ji Jia and Anders Antonsen of Denmark notched up victories after fighting back against their relatively weaker opponents. Japan’s Kodai Naroka went down in three games against third seed Loh Kean Yew of Singapore. Struggling with injuries, Antonsen beat France’s Toma Junior Popov 18-21 21-19 21-13.
Earlier, Zia had to fight hard for a 20-22 21-19 21-12 win against Shesar Hiren Rustavito of Indonesia. In women’s singles, top seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, second seed An Se-young of South Korea and fourth seed He Bingjiao of China advanced to the second round without dropping a game.
Disclaimer:Prabhasakshi has not edited this news. This news has been published from PTI-language feed.
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