Srikanth, Prannoy lose; Pranaav-Sikki in semi-finals
Tokyo: India's Kidambi Srikanth crashed out in the quarter-finals of the Japan Open Super Series after losing to recently-crown world champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark but mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy advanced to the semifinals, on Friday.
The 25-year-old from Guntur, who clinched back-to-back titles at Indonesia and Australia, couldn't curb his simple errors to go down 17-21 17-21 to world no 2 and third seed Axelsen in a men's singles quarterfinal contest that lasted 40 minutes.
With this victory, Axelsen enjoys a 3-2 head-to-head lead over Srikanth in five meetings, having won the last three duels.
US Open champion H S Prannoy too suffered a 15-21 14-21 loss to China's second seed Shi Yuqi in 45 minutes to crash out in the last-eight stage.
But Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold champions Pranaav and Sikki kept India's flag fluttering, defeating Korea's Seung Jae Seo and Kim Ha Na 21-18 9-21 21-19 to set up a clash with Japan's Takuro Hoki and Sayaka Hirota in the next round.
Srikanth made too many errors and squandered 16-13 and 9 -6 advantages in the first and second games respectively.
Axelsen, on the other hand, showed great agility and used his smashes to good use to outwit the Indian. In the opening game, Axelsen opened up a 4-1 lead early on. Srikanth clawed back at 4-4 before grabbing the lead but the Dane managed to turn the tables to reach 8-6 when his opponent made a judgement error at baseline, found the net and then hit long.
The Indian grabbed a point after producing a precise return on the line but Axelsen managed to make it 10-7.