Kidambi Srikanth was knocked out of All England Championships by world No.1 Kento Momota of Japan as he lost his quarter-final in straight games at the Birmingham Arena on Friday. It took Momota 44 minutes to trump Srikanth 12-21, 16-21 to advance into the semi-final of the tournament.
This is Srikanth’s eighth straight loss to Momota. Last year alone, Momota defeated Srikanth five times on the BWF Tour. In the record books of All England, this was the fourth meeting between Srikanth and Momota and the Indian has lost them all.
It was always going to be an uphill task for Srikanth against the world No.1, both in terms of skill and mentality. Momota has been in great form and he showed all of that on Friday.
Against Momota, Srikanth needed a lot of patience but the Indian was put under so much pressure by the Japanese that he was forced to aim for the lines and ended up losing points.
Also, the fact that Momota won most of their net battles turned out to be an essential reason of Srikanth’s loss.
Earlier in the day, Saina Nehwal also lost her 13th straight match to world No.1 Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan 15-21, 19-21 and bowed out of the tournament from the quarter-finals.
The match began in balance with both the players exchanging points and settling in on the court. At 9-9, the match looked well poised with Srikanth displaying some solidity against the skill of Kento Momota.
However, Momota decided that he had had enough of duels and starting running away with points by making just a little extra effort. Momota is an excellent retriever and that did not help Srikanth’s game at all.
Despite some effort from Srikanth, Momota comfortably took the first game 21-12.
Momota began the second game on a high tempo, looking to take the initiative. With Momota on the forefront, Srikanth simply failed to challenge the Japanese.
Momota kept on building his lead while all Srikanth could do was get a few points here an there.
Srikanth did begin to fightback later in the second game though forcing mistakes out of Momota.
With Momota hitting the 17-point mark, Srikanth went on a run of four straight points to make it 12-17. Momota, however, fought right back and took the match away.