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Japan Open: Indian challenge ends with Kidambi Srikanth’s quarter-final exit

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The Indian challenge at the USD 700,000 Japan Open badminton tournament ended with Kidambi Srikanth’s exit in the men’s singles quarter-final clash in Tokyo on Friday.

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A three-game marathon eventually saw him lose to Korea’s Lee Dong Heun 21-19, 1-21 and 18-21 in the contest which lasted for an hour and 19 minutes.

Srikanth had earlier defeated Wong Wing Ki Vincent of Hong Kong in straight games in the second round.

Thus the world no 1 Srikanth’s exit ends India’s outing the tournament after HS Prannoy and Asian Games silver medallist PV Sindhu faced exits in the first rounds of the men’s and women’s singles category on Thursday.

The pair of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy too failed to advance past the pre-quarterfinal stage on Thursday in the men’s doubles event.

The first game was a closely contested one between the two as things were once locked at 19-19. But the seventh-seeded Srikanth edged past his Korean opponent to seal it 21-19.

Under pressure after having lost the first game, Dong Keun bounced back in style in the second as he kept on maintaining a lead throughout. He fought off all resistance from Srikanth and kept putting the pressure on the Hyderabadi shuttler, eventually winning the game 21-16.

With momentum by his side, Song Keuj didn’t look back any further and started dominating the third game from the beginning. Having conceded a 4-6 lead to the Korean, Srikanth showed signs of a fightback as he managed to level things up at 9-9.

He then started to put more pressure on Dong Keun and took a lead but the latter after equalising at 13-13 won the closely fought game at 21-18.

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