(REPEATING AFTER CORRECTION IN PARA 2)

Srikanth’s fight ends with loss against Lin Dan By Tapan Mohanta Rio de Janeiro, Aug 17 (PTI) India’s Kidambi Srikanthplayed his heart out before going down fighting againsttwo-time defending champion Lin Dan in the quarterfinals ofthe men’s singles badminton event at the Rio Olympics heretoday. The 21-year-old from Guntur, who had beaten the five-timeWorld Champion from China in the 2014 China Open final,suffered a 6-21 21-11 18-21 loss against the World No. 3Chinese in a nerve-wrecking match that lasted for an hour andfour minutes. Lin Dan will now take on his long-time rival and two-timeOlympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in amouth-watering semifinal clash. The top seed beat sixth seedChou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei 21-9 21-15. Srikanth thus remained the second Indian male shuttler toreach the quarterfinals after Parupalli Kashyap achieved thefeat at the London Games. A former World No. 3, Srikanth seemed nervous early onand was totally outclassed in the lop-sided opening game whichlasted just 16 minutes. Srikanth struggled with his net play early on to allowLin Dan lead 4-1 in the first game. The left-handed Chinesecontinued to dominate with his controlled stroke play as heengaged in long rallies with the Indian to lead 10-1 afterwinning a video referral. With Srikanth once again hittinglong, Lin Dan entered the interval at 11-1. After the break, Srikanth tried to get a hold on hisnerves and played long rally but always ended up hitting awayward shot as Lin Dan continued to surge ahead. In the end,it was two unforced errors that gifted the game to theChinese. There was a visible change in Srikanth’s demeanour inthe second game as he raced to a 6-3 lead. His strokes gotbetter as he caught the celebrated Chinese off guard a fewtimes with his angled returns and held a six-point advantageat the interval. Srikanth tried to engage Lin Dan in long rallies withsome deep corner returns and then came up with some sublimewinners to lead 15-8. The Indian missed a video referral toallow Lin Dan a point but his forehand smash found Lin Dannapping next. The Chinese again hit long as Srikanth led 17-9. A cross court backhand return earned Srikanth anotherpoint and with the Chinese going long again, meant he had a10-game point advantage. One smash went wide but Srikanthroared back into the contest with a superb return at theforecourt. PTI TAP ATK BSBSBS

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