Star Indian shuttlers Lakshya Sen and Kidambi Srikanth suffered contrasting losses to bow out of the China Masters badminton tournament -- the season’s last BWF Super 750 event -- here on Wednesday.
World No. 17 Sen, who won the Canada Open this year, went down 19-21 18-21 to seventh-seeded Chinese Shi Yuqi, while world No. 24 Srikanth suffered a 15-21 21-14 13-21 loss to world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand.
It was a third consecutive first-round exit on the World Tour for Srikanth, who has just four quarterfinal finishes to show this season.
Both Sen and Srikanth are fighting to be inside the top 16 by April 28 next year to qualify for the Paris Olympics.
Young Indian Priyanshu Rajawat also bowed out after losing 17-21 14-21 to Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto in 46 minutes.
Srikanth lagged behind in the opening game from the start as Vitidsarn grabbed an 11-6 advantage at the break. The Indian narrowed down the lead to 12-13 but the Thai moved ahead to take the opening game.
Srikanth soon regrouped and opened a slim 3-0 lead. Thereafter, there was a tight fight but the Indian managed to establish a 13-10 advantage after the break and kept his distance to roar back into the contest.
Vitidsarn stayed calm and broke off from 8-8 in the decider to stay ahead despite a spirited fight from Srikanth, who had made it 13-15 at one stage. But the Thai reeled off six points to seal the issue.
Asian Games bronze medallist HS Prannoy and men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty are still in the the fray and will play their respective second-round matches on Thursday.
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