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Srikanth in QFs, title drought for Saina continues

Saina went down fighting 21-16 10-21 19-21 to a lower-ranked Yao Xue of China.

Kuala Lumpur | Published: January 17, 2014 3:39:13 am

K Srikanth continued his impressive run to enter the men’s singles quarterfinals, even as India’s campaign in the women’s singles came to an end after Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu lost their respective second round matches in contrasting styles in the USD 500,000 Malaysia Super Series Premier. The newly-crowned national badminton champion, Srikanth came from a game down to register an upset victory over World No.17 Son Wan Ho of South Korea 11-21 21-19 21-19 in a contest that lasted an hour and nine minutes.
However, Saina went down fighting 21-16 10-21 19-21 to a lower-ranked Yao Xue of China in 56 minutes, while Sindhu lost to sixth seed Yeon Ju Bae of Korea 16-21 19-21 in 45 minutes. Srikanth, ranked 38, showed a lot of fighting spirit after he lost the opening game tamely. But the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold winner kept his nerves to emerge victorious in the second and third games. In the first round, Srikanth had defeated World No.11 Hu Yun of Hong Kong. He will next take on World No. 4 Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia in the quarterfinals.
In the men’s singles, top Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap suffered a straight game defeat at the hands of third seen Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark. Kashyap lost 18-21 15-21 in a 43-minute second round match. The Indian struggled from the very start and he was down at 5-13 before he fought back to make it 18-all. But, Kashyap failed to go for the kill and his Danish opponent won three points on the trot to take the first game 21-18. In the second game, the two players were tied at 10-10 but after that Kashyap went out of steam and Jorgensen pocketed the second game and the match.
World No.8 Saina failed to turn around her fortunes in her season opener. Saina lived up to her billing in the first game as she faced little trouble in overcoming World No. 25 Xue. Despite it being a close affair till 12-12, Saina kept her calm to seal the opening game 21-16. But the Indian was in for a rude shock in the second game as the Chinese girl maintained an upper-hand throughout.
After taking the initial lead, Xue simply kept on moving ahead and opened up a massive gap. She eventually sealed the second game without breaking a sweat. In the decider, Saina got her act together and took a 7-4 lead before moving to 10-8. But Xue came back strongly to level the scores at 10-10 before slowly opening up a gap at 18-14. Saina fought back to pocket three successive points and reduce the margin to 17-18 before catching up with her rival at 19-19. But the Chinese raised her game and bagged two quick points to stun the Indian opponent.
Meanwhile, Sindhu opened up a slight 2-0 lead and then extended it to 6-3 in the first game. But once the World No. 7 Korean settled down, she made it 6-6 before surging ahead to open up a gap of 10-6 by winning seven points on the trot.
Not the one to give up so easily, Sindhu fought her way to reduce the margin to 9-10. But the higher ranked Korean kept on moving ahead and the closest that Sindhu could get to her once again was at 13-14. Thereafter, it was a smooth sail for Bae, who comfortably wrapped up the first game in her favour. The second game, however, was an interesting battle that saw the Korean post a come-from-behind victory.

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