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Srikanth stages stunning upset against Christie, Aakarshi loses

Kidambi Srikanth made a rollicking start to his campaign in 2024 with a come-from-behind victory over world no. 5 Jonatan Christie of Indonesia in the first round of Malaysia Open, the season-opening BWF Super 1000 tournament, in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday. Srikanth won the match 12-21, 21-18, 21-16 in an hour and five minutes.

Srikanth, who failed to make it to a single semifinal on the World Tour and slipped to world rank 24 last year, lost the one-sided opening game 12-21 in their first meeting in around two years.

The former world no. 1 Indian shuttler, however, did not lose tempo as he staged a comeback in the match by drawing level in a closely fought second game. Srikanth won the game 21-18, defying Christie, the reigning French Open winner, a chance of winning the match in straight games.

In the deciding third game, Srikanth held his composure and defeated Christie, who had recently recovered from a left leg injury and thumped the Indonesian player 21-16.

This was, meanwhile, Srikanth’s third straight win over Christie. In their previous two meetings in 2022, Srikanth defeated Christie in straight games, including a win at the Thomas Cup.

In women’s singles, however, Aakarshi Kashyap was no match for Zhang Yi Man of China as she lost 15-21, 15-21.

Later today, MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila in men’s doubles, Tanisha Crasto and Ashwini Ponnappa and Panda sisters – Rutaparna and Swetaparna – in women’s doubles will be in action in their respective first-round matches.

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