Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth bow out of All England Championships

With defeats to both Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth, the Indian challenge at the All England Championships has come to an end.

Saina Nehwal was yet again halted by Tai Tzu Ying.   -  TWITTER/@NSaina

Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth crashed out of the All England Championship to bring an end to the Indian challenge on Friday.

Saina lost to Tai Tzu Ying 21-15, 21-19 in the quarterfinals while former World No. 1 Srikanth went down 12-21 16-21 to the current men’s World No 1 Kento Momota at the same stage.

A former finalist, Saina couldn’t find answers to the deceptive strokeplay of the World No 1 Taiwanese, going down 15-21, 19-21 in the 37-minute quarterfinal clash.

As it Happened

Saina is now 5-15 in Head-to-Head career record with Tzu-Ying and it was her 13th straight defeat against the Taiwanese, who has not lost to the Indian since 2015.

Tzu-Ying, who had retired at the Hong Kong Open last year due to a waist injury, seemed to have recovered well as she went about her job with consummate ease at the Arena Birmingham.

Tzu-Ying’s arsenal of strokes was in full display as she rushed to a 11-3 lead. Saina produced two superb drops and won nine of the next 12 points to narrow the equation to 12-14.

Tzu-Ying then came out with a flurry of her magical strokes to move to 20-13 and sealed it comfortably.

In the second game, Saina enjoyed a five-point cushion at 8-3 in the second game after husband Parupalli Kashyap pleaded her to play disciplined badminton.

Some exceptional strokes helped the Taiwanese to gather a few points but Saina ensured a 11-8 advantage at the interval.

The Indian tried to keep Tzu-Ying at the backline with her deep tosses but fatigue, perhaps due to the bout of diarrhoea ahead of the event, affected her.

Tzu-Ying’s deceptive strokes often left Saina wrong-footed as she moved ahead of the Indian to 17-15.

Saina made it 19-19 with a successful line call. But two precise returns on the Indian’s backhand ended the match in the Taiwanese favour.

Saina is now 5-15 in Head-to-Head career record with Tzu-Ying and it was Saina's 13th successive loss to the World No. 1 from Chinese Taipei, with the Indian not tasting a win since 2015.

Straight games defeat for Srikanth

Srikanth, the final Indian in action in the tournament, suffered his sixth straight loss to the Momota later in the day.

The Indian started well in the first game, taking the lead initially and keeping his Japanese opponent on his toes. But Momota broke off from 9-9 and raced away to grab 10 game points. Srikanth managed to save two before a cross-court return sealed it for the Japanese.

In the second game, Momota zoomed ahead from 3-3 to take a 11-4 lead at the break. He kept his lead in check till the end, putting himself in a comfortable position with eight match points. Srikanth saved four match points before losing the game, and the match, to a cross-court smash.

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