It was a disappointing day for India as the nation’s only representatives at the All England Badminton Championships, Srikanth Kidambi and Saina Nehwal were knocked out of the competition on Friday.
Japan’s World No.1 Kento Momota knocked Kidambi in the quarter-final in straight games 12-21, 16-21 at the Birmingham Arena on Friday. The match lasted only 44 minutes.
As for Saina Nehwal, she was again shown the door by the her arch nemesis Tai Tzu-Ying who continues to dominate the Indian. The defeat in straight sets of 15-21, 19-21 was yet another sign of supremacy by the Taiwanese.
Saina, who was the finalist in the 2015 edition of the competition, simply failed to cathup with the deceptive stroke play of the reigning World No 1. The loss came in the 37-minute quarter final match.
As a result, the head-to-head record between them now stands at 5-15 with Tzu-Ying the lead taker. Moreover, Friday’s defeat also marked Saina’s 13th straight beating at the hands of the Taiwanese, who is unbeaten against the Indian since 2015.
Momota too Heavy for Kidambi
WATCH: Kento Momota on his delight at reaching his first YONEX All England semi-final and the strength of the 🇯🇵 team in this year's Championships 💪#YAE19 #AllEngland19 🏸https://t.co/Qo9sZYd3XD pic.twitter.com/C7HvA6341x— Yonex All England (@YonexAllEngland) March 8, 2019
Competing against the World No.1 Kento Momota was never going to be easy for Srikanth Kidambi. Afterall, he had lost 7 straight matches against the Japanese shuttler. Moreover, the Indian had never won a single match against him in their four meetings at the All England Badminton Championships. And as expected, Kidambi couldn’t change the huge odds stacked against him.
Also, the fact that Momota won most of their net battles turned out to be an essential reason of Srikanth’s loss.
The first game started on a competitive footing with both the parties showing equal vigour. After swift exchange of points, the score stood at 9-9. At that point, the match seemed to be well within Srikanth’s range with the Indian displaying some maturity against the skilly Kento Momota.
However, the downfall started from that exact point as Momota started running away with points. Momota is an incredible retriever, a fact that did not provide much help to Srikanth’s game at all.
Despite the India No.1’s minute fight, the Japanese comfortably took away the first game 21-12.
Momota took the momentum from the first game right into the second with a high tempo gameplay. The Japanese kept on increasing his lead, with Srikanth only managing to win some points here and there.
Srikanth later gave a mini-fight back to force Momota into doing mistakes and winning 4 points at 12-17. However, that phase didn’t last much longer.
Momota hit full throttle and clinched the remainder points to enter the semi finals.
With the defeat, India’s challenge at the All England Badminton Championships was all but over.