Double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu exited the Indonesia Masters Super 750 badminton tournament after losing in straight games in the semi-finals against Japanese top seed Akane Yamaguchi, in Bali on Saturday.
Later in the day, Srikanth Kidambi also bowed out at the semi-final stage after straight games defeat against third seed Anders Antonsen.
Even though Sindhu had a superior 12-7 head-to-head record against the Japanese shuttler going into Friday’s tie, having won both the meetings between the two this year, the Indian struggled to match her rival on the day, losing 13-21, 9-21 in a one-sided duel that lasted just 32 minutes.
Sindhu, seeded third, was not at her best and trailed her Japanese opponent from the start in both the games.
In the second game, Sindhu had a brief lead before Yamaguchi dominated her rival all throughout to seal the issue in her favour.
The Japanese will now play the winner of the other semifinal between fourth seed An Seyoung and Thailand’s Phittayaporn Chaiwan.
“I just made too many errors,” Sindhu was quoted as telling BWF after the match.
“I didn’t play my game. I gave her (Yamaguchi) a huge lead from the beginning. Even though I was trying a few things, they were just going out. The points I was supposed to get, I was making mistakes. There were no good rallies and she was leading by 7-8 points. Overall, I lacked. It was just not my day today.”
“Pusarla had strong power and aggressive attacks but I managed to put pressure on her and make her frustrated at her own game,” said Akane, who will meet Korea’s An Se-young in the final.
India’s challenge then came to an end as former world No 1 Srikanth was also outplayed in a rather one-sided semifinal, as he lost 14-21 9-21 to Antonsen in 41 minutes in the men’s singles.
Srikanth was able to hold on Antonsen initially, levelling the scores at 3-3, 4-4, 5-5 before falling behind. Srikanth made another fine recovery in the first game, narrowing down the gap to 11-12 but eventually lost steam.
In the second game also, both were tied at 4-4 but the Dane took eight straight points to zoom to 12-4. The Indian could not recover from there while Antonsen never let his guard down to win the second game and the match.
Sindhu, who has already sealed her place in the World Tour Finals that will take place next month, will play the Indonesia Open Super 1000 tournament next week where she is drawn to take on Japan’s Aya Ohori in the first round. For Srikanth, a rematch awaits against HS Prannoy next week.
Elsewhere, Momota knocked out Taiwan’s Chou Tien Chen, tightening Japan’s stranglehold ahead of the final rounds.
Momota and Chou had a close semi-final in Bali, but the number one badminton player claimed a 21-19, 21-11 victory over Chou.
The Japan team tops the Indonesia Masters, the first tournament in Asia for 10 months, with four tickets to the finals out of five titles.
They also dominated the Denmark Open and French Open earlier this year, winning three titles respectively.
The Indonesia Masters is one of three back-to-back tournaments, culminating in the season-ending World Tour Finals, that are taking place in Bali without fans because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Japan team has also booked a seat in the finals on men’s and women’s double titles.
Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi won over Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik 21-18, 19-21, 21-17.
Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida stunned Thailand’s Puttita Supajirakul and Sapsiree Taerattanachai 22-24, 21-17, 21-18.
Inputs from PTI and AFP
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