Both Kidambi Srikanth and Ginting Anthony reached their career high rankings on Thursday. At No.3 in the world, the Indian went a notch better than his coach P Gopichand in rankings, the highest for an Indian in 30 years through a complex process that adds, subtracts bulk numbers as shuttlers defend and lose points each circuitous week. Having climbed his personal ascent, Srikanth promptly burst the bubble with a self stabbing that saw him go to Jakarta for a Premier Super Series and lose to Ginting Anthony, a rookie Indonesian who would’ve done a little whoop at hiking upto a career high World No. 166 after pitstops at shuttle’s outposts like Bahrain and Kuching.
The 54-minute ouster in Round 2 against the 19-year-old rank unknown as the second set turnover cost the Indian the match, is the sort of inconsistency that is dogging the top crop of men’s singles shuttlers after Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei have left the top echelons. The day’s flux also witnessed Korean Son Wan Ho go down to Parupalli Kashyap in a brief 37-minute 21-11, 21-14 match. The Korean, ranked No. 8, was until last week in the top-5, and had only six months ago beaten Chinese top ranked Chen Long in straight sets.
Ever since that glorious outing at Hong Kong where he scalped No.1 and 2 on consecutive days to win the title, the Korean has seen a freefall on the pro circuit, betraying brittleness in his form and fitness.
Against Kashyap at Jakarta, Son could barely string two straight points together, and never looked like he was in the game as he went out in just over 30 minutes.
The Indian 28-year-old has comfortably beaten the Korean twice in the last few months, though his pre-quarter win in Indonesia could be seen as revenge claimed for the defeat at the Sudirman Cup last month. Kashyap meets top-seed Chen Long in the quarters on Friday, with the only other Indian keeping him company being Saina Nehwal who sets up a repeat clash with Chinese fifth seed Shixian Wang in the last-8 like last week at Australia.
The Indian who lost her top spot in Thursday’s rankings to Chinese Xuerui Li after dropping two places to World No 3, was her usual reassured self swatting aside Taipei’s Hsu Ya Ching 21-13, 21-15 in 36 minutes. The two have traded wins in the last few years and are 6-6 in career head-to-head, but Nehwal would love to stem the reverses that she’s faced in the last one year against an opponent who was the easier of the Chinese to beat in her early years.