Indian’s campaign at the 2020 Thailand Masters Super 300 event was off to a difficult start after both Srikanth Kidambi and Sameer Verma bowed out following their opening-round losses on Wednesday.
While Sameer Verma fell to the seventh seed Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia 16-21, 15-21, the former world number one, Srikanth Kidambi was on the receiving end of a closely contested three-game loss against Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito. The Indian lost the match 21-12, 14-21, 11-21.
Having endured a poor start to his season that included early-round exits at the Indonesia Masters and the Malaysia Masters, Srikanth Kidambi was looking for a turn around in his fortunes especially with the Olympics inching closer by the day. And the manner in which the Indian started his match, it looked like Srikanth Kidambi might just go deep into the competition.
Banking on his fine stroke-making and clever shot selection, Srikanth Kidambi was quick to assert his supremacy on the tie as he raced to an 11-7 lead by the mid-game interval in the opener. Later, it was just a matter of holding on to the handsome advantage and the Indian did that without much fuss as he closed the game 21-12 to gain an upper hand in the tie.
But just when it looked like Srikanth Kidambi would eventually earn his first win of the season, things started falling apart for the Indian shuttler. Having learned from his mistake in the opening game, Rhustavito was quick to find a solution to the questions Srikanth Kidambi posed on the court.
Having beaten the Indian shuttler at the Indonesia Masters a week ago, Rhustavito was quick to his Srikanth Kidambi where it hurt the most as he eked out an 11-9 lead at the mid-game interval.
Post the break, though Srikanth Kidambi tried to catch up to his Indonesian opponent the world number 20, Rhustavito, barely let the Indian have a chance as he took the second game 21-14.
Riding on the momentum in the third game, Rhustavito seemed like a completely different player as he didn’t let Srikanth Kidambi settle into his rhythm and enjoyed a superior grip on the tie.
An 11-4 lead at the mid-game interval soon converted into a 21-11 game as Rhustavito recorded his fourth win over Srikanth Kidambi to move into the second round of the competition in Thailand.
Sameer Verma struggles
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia had no such trouble as he produced a fine brand of badminton to dispatch Sameer Verma in just under 40 minutes.
Though the Indian tried his best to crawl back into the match on a few occasions, Lee Zii Jia ensured that there were no hiccups as he closed the match to seal his place in the further rounds of the competition.