"This is the first time I'm playing a tournament after such a long time and tournaments like these; where you're playing the top players in the world - it's a platform to understand your current playing level," Kidambi Srikanth summed up his Denmark Open experience. "I think there are a lot of positives to take from this match."
Srikanth, a champion at the BWF Super 750 event in 2017, started the match well against Chen, the 2020 All England Open silver medallist.
The fifth-seeded Indian shuttler relied on his intelligent placement to win some early points but conceded some soft rallies to allow Chen – the second seed - a one-point lead going into the first mid-game break of the match.
Close exchanges between the two continued after the restart with Srikanth finally managing to restore parity at 17-17 to set up an enthralling conclusion to the opening game. Down 20-19, Srikanth rallied to save a game point before wrapping it up 22-20 with a cheeky drop shot and a powerful smash.
In a bid to get back into the match, Chen started playing some aggressive badminton to kick off the second game. Kidambi Srikanth managed to keep pace with the world No. 2, producing some delightful lifts and power-packed smashes of his own but eventually fizzled out after the mid-game break.
Chen won the second game 21-13 to take the match into the third game.
With Chen’s stellar track record in long drawn out matches, the odds seemed stacked against the Indian in the decider. As expected, the Chinese Taipei badminton player exerted himself on the game and drove his advantage home, winning the decider 21-16.
It was the two players’ seventh meeting. Srikanth came out on top in their first clash in the 2014 Hong Kong Open but Chen has had the better of the Indian in their subsequent six clashes.
"I think Srikanth is a very good player," Chou Tien Chen said after the match. "His skills are very good and it was a good match. I was focusing all the time, because if you give Srikanth a chance, he's very quick and put pressure on my defence It was a very fast match.
"Each time I play Srikanth, I work on my speed and skill to push him so he can make mistakes," he added.