30 June 2018
Kuala Lumpur: The Indian challenge in the Malaysia Open came to an end as seasoned Indian shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and P.V. Sindhu suffered defeats in their respective singles semi-finals here on Saturday.
Iin the women's singles semi-finals, Rio Olympics silver medallist Sindhu lost to World No.1 and defending champion Tai Tzu Ying 15-21, 21-19, 11-21.
The Taiwanese star will next square off in Sunday's final against China's He Bingjiao, a 21-17, 21-17 winner over Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon.
World No. 7 Srikanth went down in straight games to Japan's Kento Momota 13-21, 13-21 in the 42-minute clash.
Srikanth wrote on Twitter: "Not the best of days on court for me today but credits to my opponent who played really well. A big thanks to everyone who's been cheering for me throughout the week. Next up is Indonesia open . #semifinal #malaysiaopen #hsbcworldtour #thankyouall #indonesia #believe #achieve."
The 11th-ranked Momota controlled his match against the Indian world No. 7 from start to finish at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil, a suburb of this capital, using his accuracy of shot and uncanny court sense to take command of the majority of the rallies, reports Efe.
He won numerous points with jump smashes but wrapped up the first game with a delicate shot that clipped the top of the net and tumbled over to the other side.
Nothing changed in the second game, with Momota using his complete repertoire of offensive weapons and outstanding defense to dictate play.
The 23-year-old Japanese star will next square off for the title on Sunday against 35-year-old veteran and home-crowd favourite Lee Chong Wei, who is showing he can still compete at the highest level.
Momota, who was suspended for just over a year by the Nippon Badminton Association (and missed the Rio Olympics) after admitting in early 2016 that he had visited an illegal casino in his homeland, struggled at the start of his comeback last year.
But he stunned the badminton world in April by defeating a series of world-class opponents, including Lee and Chinese defending Olympic champion Chen Long, to win the Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan, China.
He then continued his impressive form last month at the prestigious Thomas Cup international team event in Thailand, where he won all six of his matches, including straight-game wins over Danish world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen and Chen.