Kidambi Srikanth stormed into the last 16 of All England Championships in Birmingham with a dominating win over France’s Brice Leverdez on Wednesday. Srikanth took just 30 minutes to dispatch Leverdez 21-13, 21-11 to make his way into the next round of the tournament.
Srikanth displayed impeccable net skills and patience to make his way past Leverdez. It obviously helped that his French opponent was unable to handle the air in the arena and kept throwing the shuttles long and wide.
Srikanth, who is essentially very good at fast courts, has a challenge in front of him in All England in the slow Birmingham arena. However, the Guntur lad showed the skills to play around well in the conditions at All England.
In Round 2, Srikanth will take on Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie, who earlier beat South Korea’s Lee Dong Keun 21-16, 21-19.
Putting up an ace performance against @BriceLeverdez1, Srikanth wins the match with a 21-13; 21-11 scoreline and ensures a confident start to the #YAE19. Keep the momentum going. #IndiaontheRise #badminton pic.twitter.com/Fsk23VZNG9
BAI Media (@BAI_Media) March 6, 2019
Srikanth was never really troubled by Leverdez with the Indian dominating the French at the net and at the back court.
The beginning of the first game was neck-and-neck as both the players were gauging the conditions but Srikanth went with a slight edge of 11-9 into the break.
Srikanth, however, pulled ahead after the break while Leverdez was left searching for answers.
With some wonderful all-court badminton, coupled with Leverdez’s errors, Srikanth brought up game points at 20-13.
The Indian needed just one chance as Leverdez hit the net and Srikanth pocketed the first game 21-13.
The second game had a forthright start from the Indian as he ran off to a 7-0 lead over the French.
Leverdez kept struggling with his length as Srikanth went into the break with a massive 11-4 lead.
Leverdez let out a few shrieks to get himself up after winning a few, rare points but Srikanth was not to be moved.
Srikanth eventually wrapped up the game 21-11 with absolute ease as he made a good leave to Leverdez’s long shot.
ASHWINI-SIKKI GO DOWN FIGHTING
Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy showed tremendous fight and skill against the world No.7 Japanese pair of Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto but lost 21-16, 26-28, 16-21 in an hour and 17 minutes to bow out of All England Championships.
Tanaka and Yonemoto were the clear favourites against the world No.25 Indian pair but Ashwini-Sikki showed their mettle against their Japanese opponents, who looked short of ideas and energy in the first game.
Making the best of the situation, Ashwini-Sikki took the first game 21-16.
The second game however turned out to be far more difficult as the Japanese pair started coming into their own.
Ashwini-Sikki showed excellent fight to stave off game points multiple times but in the end lost 26-28 to take the match into the decider.
The decider was a close affair again with both the pairs exchanging points and the rallies in the match were kept surprisingly shot.
Towards the fag end of the decider, Tanaka and Yonemoto upped the ante and Ashwini-Sikki struggled to keep their composure and the shuttle in.
Eventually, the Japanese wrapped up the match as Sikki’s shot hit the net.
Results from earlier in the day:
PV Sindhu lost 16-21, 22-20, 18-21 to Sung Ji Hyun
B Sai Praneeth beat HS Prannoy 21-19, 21-19
Meghana Jakkampudi-S Ram Poorvisha lost 21-18, 12-21, 12-21 to Russia’s Ekaterina Bolotova-Alina Davletova