Kidambi Srikanth might not have returned home with a medal from Rio Olympics, but the shuttler did play some stunning badminton in the quadrennial event before losing in the quarterfinals. After that loss, the ongoing Japan Open is his first biggest test, where the Indian has reached the quarterfinals of the competition.
Srikanth will face Germany's Marc Zwiebler in the round of eight, and the Indian star will hope to get the better of German number one. En route to the quarterfinals, Srikanth was severely tested in the first match against fellow countryman, Parupalli Kashyap, who played some wonderful badminton, but finished second best.
Sriknath lost the first game, but won the next two to emerge victorious and reach the second round where he met Ajay Jayaram in the second round. Srikanth won the match as Jayaram retired from the match after losing the first game. But, it is not going to be an easy affair against the world number 15 Zwiebler.
The German player comes into this match confident as he has not dropped a single game in the competition so far. After defeating South Korea's Jeon Hyeok Jin in the first match, he played another brilliant match against Jen Hao, who was outplayed by the German as he won 21-14, 21-18.
Both the players know that they have a tough quarterfinal match on Friday, and any mistakes here or there could be a difference between a victory and loss. They are no strangers to one another as they have met thrice in the past, with Srikanth enjoying 2-1 head-to-head lead.
But, one should not read too much on that particular record, which favours Srikanth as he won the last match with Zwiebler retiring from the clash midway. After their last encounter in the China Open 2014, much has changed, with both shuttlers having gained huge experience, and improved as well.
The shuttler, who is more consistent in the quarterfinals, should emerge victorious and reach the semifinals of the Japan Open.
Where to watch live
Kidambi Srikanth vs Marc Zwiebler is scheduled for 2:30 pm local time (11 am IST). The timings of the match could change, as it depends on earlier matches as well.
Indian viewers can watch Japan Open live on Star Sports 4/HD. Live updates can also be followed here.