Defending champion Kidambi Srikanth was knocked out of the first round of the Indonesian Open. The Indian slumped to his second loss to Japan’s Kento Momota in less than a week.
Throughout the first game of the match, Srikanth mirrored Lee Chong Wei’s tactic of using cross court play. The idea was to catch Momota off guard and inflict the final loss on him.
He even implemented his attacking strength to the maximum and took the first game 21-12.
Srikanth lost to Momota in the semi-finals of the Malaysian Open earlier and was seeking vengeance and also for a sweet defence of his first title last year.
The 2017 Indonesia Open was Srikanth’s first title and that was the catalyst of his good form. He went on to win three more Super Series events to join an elite group of men’s singles players.
But this time, Momota was able to change the outcome of the first game and put up a scintillating performance. Momota won the second and third games to break Indian hearts.
Momota began the second game on a high taking a 3-0 lead but Srikanth fought back to make it 4-4.
Trailing 4-5, Srikanth took Momota around and then used delightful cross court net play to win the point.
Momota replied back by going into the break with an 11-9 lead.
In the second game, Srikanth began making a lot of net errors and mistimed many shots. A lot had to do with the drift in the stadium and the carry the shuttle was getting behind it. But Momota made the best of it and took the second game 14-21.
The final game saw some of the most exquisite net play of the match.
Momota, thereafter, took a five point lead to go up 12-7 but Srikanth bounced back with three straight points to make it 10-12.