Kidambi Srikanth stormed into the quarter-finals of All England Championships 2019 in Birmingham on Thursday after a three-game victory over Asian Games 2018 gold-medallist Jonatan Christie. Srikanth beat Christie 21-17, 11-21, 21-12 in 58 minutes to make his way into the next round.
Srikanth came into the match at the back of two straight losses against Christie but displayed great strength and accuracy to advance ahead.
With the win, Srikanth levelled their head-to-head record to 3-3 and would now face world No.1 Kento Momota of Japan on Friday.
Momota, earlier, beat Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21-19, 21-11 in 56 minutes.
This was the first time when a match between Srikanth and Christie went to three sets but for the Indian, it was literally a tale of first and third sets where he performed excellently.
King @srikidambi continues reign
The Indian World No 8 storms to the QF of the @YonexAllEngland with a lethal and clinical display to get the better of @jonatan979 in a thrilling 21-17, 11-21,21-12 contest that lasted nearly an hour! All Hail! #IndiaontheRise #YAE19 pic.twitter.com/2zapD7vlei
BAI Media (@BAI_Media) March 7, 2019
Srikanth began the match on a high as he ran off to a 5-0 lead over the Indonesian. Christie’s fight throughout the first game did keep him close to Srikanth but the Indian did not let go of his lead even once.
What stood out for Srikanth in the game was the power behind his shots and the way he was dominating the net.
Net play is something Srikanth has shown immense improvement from late last year and it was on full display in the first game.
Courtesy, some solid all-court play, Srikanth took the first game 21-17 despite a fightback from Christie.
As the ends changed for the second game, so did the fortunes. Like Srikanth had begun the first game in a dominating fashion, Christie took control early in the second game.
It did not help Srikanth that his shots were either going wide and long or were hitting the net. Also, Christie had begun to read his net play perfectly.
Christie also upped the pace of the game and started getting more proactive eased to an 21-11 win in the second game to take the match to the decider.
The decider belonged completely to Kidambi Srikanth. Srikanth’s accuracy and his patient play was back with him with the ends changing once again and at the break, Srikanth led 11-4.
Before the break, Christie even took a 3-minute break to get some medication on his foot but that did not break Srikanth’s momentum and he surged through.
After the break as the ends changed again, Srikanth did not let it trouble him this time and kept his stranglehold on Christie.
As the scoreboard pressure built on the Indonesian, he started making small errors and with absolute ease, Srikanth took the decider and the match.
Earlier, Saina Nehwal produced a come-from-behind performance to make it to the quarters of the tournament. In 51 minutes, Saina beat Denmark’s Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt 8-21, 21-16, 21-13 to make it through.
B Sai Praneeth, however, hardly posed a challenge and lost 12-21, 17-21 to Hong Kong’s NG Ka Long Angus.