Millennium Post

Sindhu, Srikanth lose in semifinals

Kuala Lumpur: India's top shuttlers PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth went down fighting in their respective women's and men's singles semifinals to draw the curtains on the team's campaign at the USD 700,000 Malaysia Open Super World Tour 750 tournament here on Saturday.

First, Srikanth failed to match the overall superior game of former world no 2 Japanese Kento Momota, who has been in sensational form since making a comeback after serving a one year ban for illegal gambling.

Sindhu, too, met the same fate, against defending champion and world no 1 Tai Tzu Ying, who showed better technical acumen and physical ability.

Srikanth, who had reached world no 1 briefly in April, lost 13-21 13-21 to world no 11 Momota, who registered his 21st consecutive win, while Sindhu's fight ended with a 15-21 21-19 11-21 loss to the Chinese Taipei player in a 55-minute match.

It was Srikanth's sixth defeat to Momota in nine meetings, while Sindhu has now lost nine times to Tai Tzu, this being her fifth successive reverse.

Tai Tzu moved swiftly on court, switched from attack to defence, played some creative strokes to eventually outwit Sindhu.

Sindhu and Tai played some high quality rallies, which were laced with drop shots and tight net strokes.

The duo moved together initially before Tai Tzu opened up a 9-6 lead. Sindhu reduced the deficit but in the end, Tai Tzu led 11-9 when she punched one precisely at the back line.

Tai Tzu looked supremely fit, extremely confident and played quick drops, smashes and also tried out some ambitious strokes to move to game point at 20-15. Another error from Sindhu and it was advantage Tai Tzu after the opening game.

After the change of sides, Sindhu managed to zoom to a 5-0 lead. However, Tai Tzu drew parity at 9-9 before leading 11-10 at the break.

Sindhu kept breathing down her opponent's neck and led 18-16 with four straight points.

However, Tai Tzu again erased the deficit and moved to a minor 19-18 lead when Sindhu went long. But the Indian grabbed a game point when Tai Tzu went wide. A similar error and Sindhu had bounced back into the contest.

In the decider, the duo split the first eight points. But Tai Tzu again marched ahead to 10-6 before a lucky net chord handed the lead to the Chinese Taipei shuttler.

After the final change in sides, Tai Tzu played some perfectly timed shots at the backline to race to a 16-8 advantage. Tai Tzu simply toyed with Sindhu as the Indian made judgement errors and missed the lines, sandwiched with some brilliant returns.

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