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Srikanth enters semifinals of Hong Kong Open

K. Srikanth.

K. Srikanth.  

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Srikanth pocketed the first game 21-13 in just 15 minutes.

Indian ace Kidambi Srikanth progressed to the semifinals of the $400,000 Hong Kong Open after Olympic champion Chen Long of China decided to quit the contest owing to an injury, here on Friday.

Unseeded Srikanth, ranked 13th in the world, was leading by a game when Chen decided to concede the match, thus handing the Indian a place in the last-four of a BWF World Tour event for the first time since March.

The last time Srikanth crossed the quarterfinal stage was at the India Open Super 500. He had finished runners-up at the event.

Friday’s triumph was Srikanth’s second career win over the Chinese shuttler. The Indian still trails Chen 2-6 in head-to-head win-loss record.

The only time the two shuttlers met this year was in the quarterfinals of the Malaysia Open in April where Chen brushed aside Srikanth’s challenge in straight games.

Srikanth’s lone victory over Chen came in 2017 when he defeated the Chinese 22-20 21-16 to win the Australian Open.

The former world no 1 will next face local favourite Lee Cheuk Yiu on Saturday.

Lee defeated former world champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark 21-14 21-19 in another quarterfinal.

Srikanth had beaten the 23-year-old Lee in straight games at the India Open last year in their only career meeting.

In the match, Srikanth opened up a 2-0 lead early on and kept extending it as Chen struggled with his movement.

The Indian quickly jumped to a 15-4 lead at one stage and eventually sealed the opening game comfortably.

Just after Srikanth pocketed the first game in just 15 minutes, world no. 4 Chen hung up his racquet to put an end to the contest.

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 2:29:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/srikanth-enters-semifinals-of-hong-kong-open/article29981366.ece

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