Kidambi Srikanth’s 13-match unbeaten streak was snapped by South Korea’s Son Wan Ho at the World Badminton Championships in Glasgow when the Indian shuttler went down 14-21, 18-21 in a match lasting 48 minutes. Srikanth had come into the tournament with two consecutive Super Series titles in Indonesia and Australia while also reaching the final of Singapore prior to it. But on Friday, the usually on mark Srikanth didn’t get the right start and whatever he did, Son had an answer ready.
After the defeat, Srikanth said, “There’s nothing that I would have done differently. I tried almost everything and nothing worked,” and also tweeted, “Couldn’t get my game going today and made too many mistakes. Credits to him for playing so well and for not letting me get back in”. World No 1 Son was quicker than Srikanth, read the game much better and was ready for the next rally even before it happened. Clearly the Korean had done his homework after two successive defeats to Srikanth in Indonesia and Australia.
Srikanth had prevailed both times in Jakarta and Sydney on his way to the title with Son coming out second best in the Super Series events in three tough games. But on Friday, the Korean turned the tables to win in straight games as Srikanth found no answer.
The Indian shuttler didn’t come to his own for the most part of the match – losing the first game in 20 minutes – with many of his attempted drop shots hitting the net for an extremely error prone game.
The second game, too, went in Son’s favour – even more than the first. The Korean shuttler didn’t need to do anything overly special as Srikanth failed to get his usual attacking game to click. At 5-16, it all looked done and dusted with Srikanth looking at a hammering scoreline to end his winning run. And that’s when everything turned around and miraculously so. Srikanth picked up one smash after another – from his body to low down on the court – and prolonged points which were otherwise long lost.
Srikanth brought the deficit from 11 points to 1 point and made it 18-19 before Son forced the Indian two errors to close out the match and obviously breathe a sight of relief.