Syed Modi International: K. Srikanth crashes out, Sourabh Verma posts win

Srikanth goes down in straight games to Son Wan Ho; Sourabh Verma and qualifier Rituparna Das keep home interest alive.

Sourabh Verma (in picture) defeated Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn 21-19, 21-16. Photo: Special Arrangement

Appearing increasingly exasperated, third seed K. Srikanth continues to fall short of playing to his seeding.

Srikanth’s straight-game exit left Sourabh Verma and qualifier Rituparna Das keeping alive the home interest in the USD 150,000 Syed Modi International badminton tournament here on Friday.

Champion here in 2016 but searching to end the title-drought following the 2017 French Open, Srikanth was hoping to make the most of a depleted field. However, in the quarterfinal involving two former World No. 1 players, Son Wan Ho outwitted Srikanth 21-19, 21-18.

Following a third straight loss, Srikanth now trails the South Korean 4-7 in head-to-head clashes.

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Earlier, a more resolute Sourabh did not disappoint. Ranked 36th, five places above Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn, Sourabh won 21-19, 21-16. He needed five game-points to close the first game and later converted his third match-point. Runner-up to Taufik Hidayat in the 2011 edition here, Sourabh has continually battled injuries in the past few years. He will be eyeing another shot at the title when he takes on South Korea’s Heo Kwang Hee in Saturday’s semifinal.

Long rallies

Son Wan Ho, who lost the better part of this year in nursing his Achilles tendon following surgery, has slipped to 43rd in the world rankings. But on this day, Son Wan Ho seldom trailed in the 45-minute encounter and rode on the confidence drawn from his past matches against a struggling Srikanth.

The match saw several long rallies, with the players looking to control the net. This was where Son Wan Ho won the battle. His dribbles and flicks proved more effective. Even from the back of the court, the South Korean’s well-directed drops and half-smashes added to Srikanth’s exasperation.

After a close first game, Srikanth rallied from 12-17 to draw level and again made it 18-all. But Son Wan Ho kept calm and cashed in on the second match-point with a supremely-measured drop, close to the net, to the left of a stunned Srikanth.

In women’s doubles, as widely expected, the two Indian pairs exited following straight-game defeats.

In women singles, Rituparna defeated fellow-qualifier Shruti Mundada 24-26, 21-10, 21-19. This was the repeat result of last year’s clash here between these players, ranked a distant 165 and 200!

Rituparna now faces Phittayaporn Chaiwan who, too, beat two compatriot Thais on the way. Chaiwan raced past China’s Wang Zhiyi 21-17, 21-12.

From the top-half of the draw, Olympic champion Carolina Marin stayed on course by dismissing Russia’s Evgeniya Kosetskaya 21-13, 21-16 in 37 minutes. She will take South Korea’s Kim Ga Eun, who advanced at the expense of team-mate Kim Hyo Min 21-18, 21-14.

Leading quarterfinal-results (Indians unless stated)
  • Men singles: Wang Tzu Wei (Tpe) bt Soo Tech Zhi (Mas) 21-19, 21-12; Son Wan Ho (Kor) bt K. Srikanth 21-18, 21-19; Sourabh Verma bt Kunlavut Vitidsarn (Tha) 21-19, 21-16; Heo Kwang Hee (Kor) bt Zhao Junpeng (Chn) 21-14, 19-21, 21-14.
  • Women singles: Kim Ga Eun (Kor) bt Kim Hyo Min (Kor) 21-18, 21-14; Carolina Marin (Esp) bt Evgeniya Kosetskaya (Rus) 21-13, 21-16; Phittayaporn Chaiwan (Tha) bt Wang Zhiyi (Chn) 21-17, 21-12; Rituparna Das bt Shruti Mundada 24-26, 21-10, 21-19.
  • Women doubles: Lina Efler and Isabel Herttrich (Ger) bt Simran Singhi and Ritika Thaker 21-7, 21-16; Ng Wing Yung and Yeung Nga Ting (Hkg) bt Kuhoo Garg and Anoushka Parika 21-15, 21-9.