In the men’s category, Srikanth outplayed Henri Hurskainen of Sweden 21-6, 21-18 in his group H preliminaries encounter. The only Indian to qualify in the men’s singles event had previously beaten Lino Munoz of Mexico 2-0 in his campaign opener. In a lop-sided first game, the Kidambi got off to a brilliant start as he raced away with a 11-2 lead with some solid net play and cross-court smashes before wrapping up the first game in his favour.
The second game was an example of Srikanth’s tenacity and patience. By virtue of his exceptional defensive skills, the Sweden player managed to stay in touch with the Indian. After few exchanges till the mid-half of the second game, the Indian shuttler showed some good skills with the combination of his diagonal shot and down the line smashes to take a 18-15 lead. In the last few points, there was stiff competition but Srikanth overpowered his opponent to clinch the issue comfortably.
Kidambi Srikanth vs Henri Hurskainen: As it happened
2052 hrs IST: Kidambi Srikanth wins the match point
2047 hrs IST: Kidambi one point away from the knockout stage.
2040 hrs IST: Hurskainen with the lead at the break in the second set. More even this one after Srikanth’s dominance in the first set. Leads by 11-10
2037 hrs IST: This set a bit more even. Srikanth leads 8-6 in the second set
2028 hrs IST: Long by Hurskainen and Kidambi Srikanth wins first set 21-6
2027 hrs IST: Srikanth with 14 set points as he sends angled smash and then pushes the shuttle into open court. 20-6
2023 hrs IST: Srikanth as always with fantastic attacking play. And adding in delicate drop shots too. Leads 16-5
2021 hrs IST: Srikanth with a glorious smash angled across Hurskainen and he leads 11-2 in the first set
2018 hrs IST: Srikanth starts strongly to lead 6-1 in the first set
Indian shuttler Kidambri Srikanth started his Olympic campaign in superb fashion, breezing past Lino Muzon of Mexico in straight games in the opening match of Group H in the men’s singles event here.
The only Indian to qualify in the men’s singles event, Srikanth won 21-11, 21-17 in 41 minutes here at the Pavilion 4 of Rio Centro on Thursday.
Srikanth will be playing his next match against Henri Hurskainen of Sweden on Sunday.
In few early exchanges in the first game, the Indian shuttler was prevailing 7-5 due to few unforced errors from the Mexican before Kidamdi stepped up his game, attacking strongly to take 10 points on the trot to build up a 15-10 lead.
With the combination of his diagonal and down the line smashes creating plenty of problems for the Mexican, Srikanth easily clinched the first game by a 21-11 margin in 16 minutes.
In the second game, the former world No. 3 Indian started to loosen up a little, going up 11-9 at the mid-game interval.
After the mid-game interval, Muzon tried to stage a strong comeback. He effectively countered Srikanth’s smashes and started dominating the court with his long smashes, building up a 16-13 lead.
At one point it seemed that it will be difficult for the 23-year-old Guntur lad to return into the game, but Srikanth kept his cool and played few tight spinning net shots to grab the nail biting second game in 25 minutes.