Kidambi Srikanth became the second Indian star men’s singles player to make a first-round exit after Lakshya Sen on Wednesday at the India Open Super 750 in New Delhi. Lakshya went down to Priyanshu Rajawat on the opening day of the event in New Delhi.
Srikanth, who lost in the second round of the Malaysia Open last week, suffered a straight-game (22-24, 13-21) loss to world no. 18 Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong in a 47-minute battle due to his error-prone game.
In the first game, Srikanth made a fine start, winning quick points with some fine strokes. But Lee was breathing at his neck all through before levelling the parity at 17-17.
From there onwards, Lee marched ahead to stand on game point at 20-17.
Srikanth, however, rallied back to draw level at 20-20 before taking a slender lead. But he wasted the game point by sending the shuttle wide. Lee would eventually win the game 24-22.
In the second game, Lee did not let go of his momentum and soon widened his lead to 11-2 at the interval. Though Srikanth recovered briefly at 6-12, he was never in the fight to outwit Lee, who would cruise to claim a 21-13 win.
Following his poor show, Srikanth said, “I know I have been making unforced errors for sometimes and I am working on it.”
The two early exits will affect Srikanth’s chance of qualifying for the Paris Olympics, but he remains hopeful of qualifying for the Games.
“I don’t play safe, that’s my game. I try to earn points. Hopefully, things will be better in next few tournaments. Parupalli (Kashyap) has a few things on his mind, so lets see. If I win a few tournaments, I will qualify for Olympics,” he added.
Meanwhile, the world no. 20 Indian women’s doubles combo of Ashwini Ponnappa and Tanisha Crasto lost to the world no. 10 Thai pair of Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai 5-21, 21-18, 11-21 in their women’s doubles opener.