India’s challenge at the Malaysia Open came to an end on Friday as Kidambi Srikanth lost 18-21, 19-21 in the men’s singles quarter-finals to Chen Long of China.
It wasn’t a one-sided affair as Srikanth fought hard in both games but Long, who is the reigning Olympic champion and a two-time World and All England champion, proved to be solid right till the end.
The Indian had started well in the opening game and held at 16-11 lead before Chen staged a comeback. The Chinese used his big frame to keep the shuttle in play longer and Srikanth ended up making quite a few unforced errors while looking for points.
The match was scratchy for most part with the longest rally in the opening game as just 24 shots as both players struggled to control the shuttle due to the drift.
Chen, however, made the most of the better conditions in the second game to open up a 8-16 lead before the Indian fought back by showing patience and some guile at the net.
The India Open runner-up battled his way back and made it 18-18, but Long stuffed out any chances of the match going into a decider by winning three of the next four points.
On Thursday, Srikanth had defeated Khosit Phetpradab 21-11, 21-15 in just 32 minutes to earn a spot in the last eight.