India’s Kidambi Srikanth was defeated by Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong in the semi-final of the 2019 Hong Kong Open.
World number 13, Kidambi Srikanth, was eliminated by Hong Kong’s favourite Lee Cheuk Yiu in straight games in the gruelling semi-final match of the Hong Kong Open on Saturday.
It was not an easy game for the Indian, as he was comprehensively beaten by Cheuk Yiu. At mid-break, Srikanth was trailing 3-11 in the first game and ended up losing the first contest 9-21.
The second game was a much-improved performance from the Indian shuttler as Srikanth showed signs of staging a miraculous comeback. At mid-break, he was leading 11-8 and even had a game point, but the experienced Hong Kong shuttler managed the game properly and held his nerve to end the second game at 25-23.
In the end, Kidambi lost 9-21 23-25 in the space of 42 minutes. His defeat also meant that there was no Indian left competing in the 2019 Hong Kong Open.
The pair had only met once in the past. In the 2018 India Open, Srikanth had seen off Cheuk Yiu 21-17 21-18 in a comfortable victory.
Cheuk Yiu, on the other hand, has started to emerge as a dominant force in the world of badminton. He recently defeated former badminton world champion Viktor Axelsen to qualify into the semi-final match of his home HSBC BWF World Tour Super 500 event. He also beat Axelsen in the quarter-finals of the Hong Kong Open. Lee Cheuk Yiu ranked 27 in the world and has also won the Hong Kong Open after he battled to defeat Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting in the final.
As for the Kidambi Srikanth, he remains one of India’s best shutters and will be disappointed not to have won the tournament although he had not really been challenged throughout the tournament because he played just one complete match in the run-up to the semi-final on Saturday.
Written by: Collins Nwokolo