Hong Kong Open 2019: Srikanth loses in semifinals

Sajith B Warrier

Bengaluru, November 16: India's campaign in the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Hong Kong Open World Tour Super 500 event ended after the 9-21, 23-25 loss of Kidambi Srikanth to local hope Lee Cheuk-Yiu in the semifinals.

Though Srikanth lost the first game quickly, he fought hard in the second in which he was leading 20-15.

Lee saved five game points on the trot and seven in all to beat the former BWF world No.1 and book a place in the final.

Srikanth had played Lee only once -- during the 2018 India Open. That time he had emerged a 21-17, 21-18 winner over Lee.

But Saturday presented a different challenge for Srikanth. Lee was impressive in front of his home crowd as he sealed the contest in 42 minutes to become just the second local player to reach the final of the Hong Kong Open.

Lee had earlier stunned former BWF world number one Viktor Axelsen in the quarterfinals while Srikanth entered the last four after fifth seed Chen Long of China decided to quit the contest owing to an injury.

Hong Kong Open: Kidambi Srikanth enters semifinals

Srikanth had pocketed the first game 21-13 in just 15 minutes when world no. 4 Long hung up his racquet to put an end to the contest.

The semifinal against Lee presented the first real test for Srikanth in the tournament which he failed to clear.

In the opening round Srikanth's first-round opponent -- world No.1 Kento Momota -- had withdrawn giving him a bye.

In the second round had registered a win over compatriot Sourabh Verma, 21-11, 15-21, 21-19.

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