Kidambi Srikanth's Rio Olympics 2016 journey has come to an end with the Indian shuttler losing to defending champion Lin Dan in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. The world champion's experience at the highest level came handy in the crucial stages of the final game to help him win a thrilling contest , 21-6, 11-21, 21-18.
Srikanth should be pleased with his performance as he provided a tough test to one of the greatest shuttlers of the current generation.
The first two games were dominated by Lin Dan and Srikanth respectively, which produced some amazing shuttle play from the two shuttlers. With the match going to the decider, the Chinese held his nerve to grab the semi-finals spot.
Srikanth might have taken the first point of the match, but Lin Dan came back strongly winning the next four with some good badminton. With Srikanth trailing 1-4, Lin Dan further stretched the lead, and the Indian shuttler was looking nervous right from the start, making some errors at the net.
The Chinese shuttler was in full flow, with brilliant play all-around, and he was not giving an inch, taking 11 straight points going into the first interval.
Srikanth was not given much chance to unleash his powerful smash, which had been his major forte en route to the quarterfinals. Even when Srikanth threw some powerful smashes in the first game, Lin Dan was upto the mark with his strong defence.
Lin Dan was in complete control, and Srikanth's body language did not look good as five-time world champion clinched it 21-6.
After going a set down, there was a serious need for Srikanth to regain his confidence if he wanted to have any chance of even coming back into the match. The Indian started brightly, winning the first three points of the second game, and increased the lead to 6-3.
Despite trailing, Lin Dan was not perturbed, playing some solid game, and forcing Srikanth into errors. The Gantur man looked a better player, going into the second game interval with six-point lead, 11-5.
With Srikanth gaining confidence, he ran into 15-8 lead, but Lin Dan was still giving his best to win the second game with some good display. There was an air of confidence in Srikanth's play in the second game, and won it 21-11.
Srikanth went down 1-3 in the decider, but the Indian came back strong with some good offensive skills to reduce the lead to 3-4. The match was played at furious pace, and both the players were coming with some stunning shots to earn important points.
There was nothing much to choose between the two players as the scores were tied at 7-7 after a long rally which was brought to an end by Srikanth's strong game at the net. As Srikanth took 11-8 lead, it was the man from China, who was in all sorts of pressure.
With some wonderful moves at the net, Srikanth was looking brilliant, taking 13-10 lead. The defending champion brought all his experience into play as he won three straight points to draw level. And the Chinese gained further momentum with 16-14 lead, but he hit a shot at the net to make it 16-15.
Lin Dan, who has won the last two Olympics gold medals, with some brilliant play inched closer to the semis as he had a three-point lead at 19-16. Srikanth had to do something special to deny Lin Dan the victory, but it was not to be as the Chinese shuttler won the game, 21-18, and with it the match as well.