Srikanth falls to Lin Dan's might

Srikanth falls to Lin Dan's might

Srikanth falls to Lin Dan's might

Kidambi Srikanth’s superb run at the Olympic Games badminton was finally ended by the man who they call Super Dan.

In the quarterfinals at the Riocentro Pavilion, Srikanth came close but not close enough to beating the two-time defending champion. Drawing on all his experience and showing his unmatched championship class, Lin Dan kept the Indian at bay with a 21-6, 11-21, 21-18 win to enter the semifinals.

After Sindhu’s entry into the last four of the women’s singles, a second Indian presence in the semifinals looked a real possibility when Srikanth bounced back from a first-game mauling to push the match into the third game, stirring memories of his upset of the Chinese great in 2014.

The decider was a close affair till 14-14 but the five-time world champion, seeded third here, capitalised on Srikanth’s errors to forge ahead. He then produced a couple of gems, a cheeky drop shot and a nonchalant flick to inject a dose of worry into Srikanth’s mind.

At 19-16, the match seemed almost over and a fiery smash that fetched him a point was Srikanth’s last show of defiance. Dan conceded one more point before applying the finishing touches and setting up a semifinal clash against Lee Chong Wei.

The top-ranked Malaysian, still looking for his first Olympic gold, defeated Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei 21-9, 21-15 in his quarterfinals.

Srikanth stared at a heavy defeat when Dan raced through the first game in 16 minutes, never allowing the Indian to settle down. Srikanth also was guilty of rushing points and making errors by the handful. But the India number one tightened up his play in the second game, staying close to the Chinese and making him move around.

It was great to see the Chinese getting hustled into making errors as Srikanth powered to a 17-10 lead before wrapping up the game to draw level. Dan made the early play in the decider but once again Srikanth kept up with the Chinese before his own mistakes hurt him badly at 14-14. He netted a smash, put a return long and netted another backhand to allow Dan to pull away and the Chinese didn’t look back from then on.

DH News Service
Results: Men’s singles quarterfinals: Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia) bt Chou Tien Chen (Chinese Taipei) 21-9, 21-15; Lin Dan (China) bt K Srikanth 21-6, 11-21, 21-18; Viktor Axelsen (Denmark) bt 13-Rajiv Ouseph (Britain) 21-12, 21-16; Chen Long (China) bt 8-Shon Wan-Ho (South Korea) 21-11, 18-21, 21-11.

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