October 17, 2020 12:46:39 am
The Denmark Open is fantastically missing in any context by any means — simply the way in which Kidambi Srikanth would’ve wished this return to be. Neither an Olympic spot at stake for the future right here, nor the painful piling on of early exits from one week to subsequent, to scar his most up-to-date previous. Twice of their quarterfinal, Chou Tien Chen roared a guttural cry proper after a stiff rally the place he was run ragged, validating the robust problem he was posed by the Indian in imperious type when on music.
Srikanth misplaced 22-20, 13-21, 16-21 in 62 minutes of the most effective badminton he has performed in latest instances. Well rested, with not a touch of strain, transferring nicely and confidently backing his assault, Srikanth provided a glimpse of what he might probably play within the future, reasonably than turning again some elusive clock to go trying to mimic his dream season of 2017. So whereas this can nonetheless rely as a sub-par exit for the previous World No 1 in opposition to the present World No 2, there was sufficient in his sport to get spectators to tune in when he performs him subsequent time.
The loss was all the way down to a bunch of unforced errors that compounded the Guntur man’s lack of ability to come back again after trailing within the center set and the decider. But in all of the 5 units (2 every in first two rounds & the opener right here) he gained during the last three days, the 27-year-old displayed a champion’s functionality to rapidly change gears at midgame, and summon his class within the essential end factors.
The web is taken into account Srikanth’s stomping floor — a litmus to verify on how assured he’s feeling on the day. But it is going to all the time be Srikanth’s assault from the midcourt or again that carries the venom sufficient to complete the kill.
On Friday, he was gliding round transferring nicely for added measure. At 7-6 within the first, he hopped to the forecourt sending off a forehand on the web, which Chou slapped to the again. Running backwards and compelled to depart his patch, Srikanth would flick the shuttle far again like a passing shot, unsettling Chou.
The Taipese 30-year-old’s lure was to attract errors from Srikanth’s backhand on the web — messing together with his territorial dominance, drilling holes in his power. But there was little for Chou to do when Srikanth let his stick smashes do the speaking. Or when he attacked the physique to pin Chou again after which with no perceptible change despatched a smash alongside the opposite flank transferring from 19-20 to profitable subsequent three factors to assert the set, 22-20.
Chou held the higher hand within the longer rallies although, and physio Kiran Challangundla had stated earlier that Srikanth was working solely at 80 per cent bodily. But rattled by how he had let slip the opener from 20-19, he would spray his returns large. What actually riled him up was 7-Eight within the second set — the place Srikanth braking the tempo performed a collection of sluggish – comfortable – sluggish – comfortable strokes after which all of the sudden snapped out of the lullaby pace for a blitz kill.
After that each lengthy rally that Chou eked out, he would pump his fist, gnash his tooth and roar his anger out. Srikanth erring in a bunch of returns would enable Chou to stage again.
While Chou broke away at 14-Eight within the decider, after being made to work onerous, he might by no means shake off the concern that Srikanth had it in him to pierce his greatest sport together with his personal assault. What saved him was Srikanth’s extreme reliance on the identical stroke on the web which Chou learn quickly and will counter together with his livid faucets.
Coach Gopichand, whereas proud of Srikanth’s pace, motion and assault, stated, the shot choice might enhance. “I thought, even when he had the winning shot, he was maybe a bit predictable. The finishes at the net especially were predictable. That’s something he could probably work on,” he stated.
The second set the place Srikanth took his foot off the pedal was the turning level. “He could’ve put pressure then. A series of errors took the pressure off Chou in the second game. Physically, Srikanth needs to be a bit better off to beat the No 1, 2, 3 guys. But overall happy with his progress,” he stated.
© The Indian Express (P) Ltd