Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth beat France’s Arnaud Merkle in the men’s singles Round of 16 fixture in the Hylo Open here on Thursday. Srikanth won the match 11-21, 21- 13, 21-10 in 50 minutes.
Much like his previous match, Srikanth lost the first game and bounced back to win the next two to seal his place in the quarterfinals of the Super 300 badminton tournament.
In the first game, Merkle, ranked 43rd in the world, took a 15-10 lead. From thereon, he allowed Srikanth only one point before taking the lead at 21-11, with six consecutive points.
In the second game, Srikanth earned five points in a row to make it 9-4. At the interval, he maintained an 11-4 lead and made it 13-4. Merkle engaged Srikanth in long rallies and quickly reduced the gap to 10-14. However, the former world no. 1 Indian did not let the French shuttler lead and ultimately equalised the scoreline at 21-13.
Srikanth earned the first point in the third game, and swiftly moved to 6-2. Merkle did try to fight back, but Srikanth was not in the mood to let the lead slip in after taking an 11-6 lead at the interval and cruised to an 19-8 lead. He eventually sealed the fixture with a 21-10 win in the third game.
This was Srikanth’s second consecutive three-game win. In the pre-quarterfinals, he beat China’s Lu Guang Zu 15-21, 21-14, 21-13.
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