Srikanth knocked out, women wrestlers advance

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 17 (PTI) Kidambi Srikanth went downfighting against defending champion Lin Dan to dash India’shopes of a medal from Olympic badminton men’s singles heretoday even as two women grapplers advanced after winning theirrespective opening bouts here. Taking the court a day after compatriot P V Sindhu hadknocked out another top Chinese shuttler Wang Yihan to enterthe women’s singles semis, Srikanth gave Super Dan a toughtime before going down 6-21 21-11 18-21 against the World No.3 Chinese and made his exit from the competition. The 21-year-old Hyderabad shuttler’s elimination afterhis loss to Dan in an hour and four minutes in thequarterfinals to left Sindhu as the lone Indian out out ofseven entrants in the fray in badminton. Sindhu is to take on Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara tomorrow fora place in the final. A victory would guarantee the tall woman at least asilver and a loss would propel her into the bronze medalplay-off with the loser of the other semi final between LiXuerei of China, the defending champion, and Spain’s CarolinaMarin, world no.1. Away from badminton, women grapplers — Vinesh Phogatand Sakshi Malik — crossed the first hurdle by registeringcontrasting victories in their respective weight divisions. It was an easy outing for Vinesh in 48kg category as shethrashed Emilia Alina Vuc of Romania 11-0 by technicalsuperiority to enter the quarterfinals. In contrast, Sakshi came back from 0-4 down to post animpressive 5-4 win over her Swedish opponent — Malin JohannaMattsson — to advance to the pre-quarterfinals of 58kgcategory. The focus, after Sindhu’s entry into the semi finals latelast night, was on Srikanth against five-time world championDan whom he had beaten two years ago in the China Open final. A former World No. 3, Srikanth seemed nervous early onand was totally outclassed in the lop-sided opening game whichlasted just 16 minutes, There was a visible change in Srikanth’s demeanour in thesecond game as he raced to a 6-3 lead. His strokes got betteras he caught the celebrated Chinese off guard a few times withhis angled returns and held a six-point advantage at theinterval that proved decisive when he captured the game toforce the match into the decider. In the decider, six-time All England champion Lin Danopened up a slender 2-0 lead but Srikanth managed to narrow itdown to 3-4 before a superb rally ended with the Chinesestamping his authority to lead 5-3. Srikanth continued to stretch his more celebrated rival,who has won the All-England crown on six occasions, till theend the superior experience of Dan saw him sail through to thesemis against top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, who defeatedChou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei 21-9 21-15 in another quarterfinal. PTI TAP SSR CMSSR

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