Ace Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth stormed into the Denmark Open quarterfinals with win over Canada's Jason Anthony Ho-Shue but it was curtains for Lakshya Sen here on Thursday. Srikanth, seeded fifth, took 33 minutes to get the better of his Canadian opponent 21-15 21-14 in the men's singles second round of the USD 750,000 Super 750 tournament, the only world tour event happening this year in a calendar thrown haywire by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The BWF was forced to cancel multiple tournaments and postpone the Asia leg and the World Tour Final to January next year due to the pandemic. "It was close until 11 in both games. I'm just happy that I could continue that form throughout the match. I had to be alert to get back his shots," Srikanth told BWF. Lakshya, however, endured a tough day on the court, going down 21-15 7-21 17-21 to experienced local challenger Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus in 55 minutes.
Srikanth will now face world number two Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei, who beat Ireland's Nhat Nguyen 21-8 21-16. "He's (Chen) been playing well the last few years. It's definitely a match where I can understand where I'm at. That's the whole idea of playing this tournament," the 27-year-old said. He hits hard, he's someone who has an overall game, he has a hard smash, he knows when to attack and when to defend. He has matured. It's always good when you play a top 4 player."
— BWF (@bwfmedia) October 15, 2020
In the opening game, Srikanth zoomed to a 9-4 lead before grabbing a three-point advantage at the break. The Indian then reeled off six points to create a huge gap, which Jason couldn't bridge. Srikanth fell behind 5-8 in the second game but bounced back with six straight points to reach 11-8 at the interval. The Canadian made it 10-11 after resumption. Srikanth then stepped up the pace and was immediately rewarded as he opened up a 15-10 lead. He constructed the rallies well to quickly jump to 19-11. Srikanth soon earned eight match points. He converted third when his opponent sent one wide.
Lakshya, who had lost to Vittinghus in his only meeting at Malaysia Masters early this year, was straight away put under pressure by the Danish shuttler as he lagged 4-6 early on. But the Indian managed to break off at 15-15 with six straight points to grab the opening game. Vittinghus made a roaring comeback as it turned out to be a one-way traffic. The world number 47 Dane quickly closed the second game, giving away just seven points.
Lakshya lagged 3-8 in the decider but he slowly started matching the pace of his rival and clawed back to 9-10 with a superb cross court smash but Vittinghus entered the break at 11-9. The young Indian continued to keep pace with Vittinghus, moving to 16-18. But two wide shots from Lakshya gave three match-point opportunities to his rival, who sealed it when Lakshya found the net. Lakshya thus joined Subhankar Dey and Ajay Jayram, who made first round exits on Wednesday.