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LEE CHEUK YIU wins 21-9, 25-23
What a performance and he becomes only the second man from his country to reach the finals of the Hong Kong open. Lee was relentless and after making a mess of the previous game point, clipping the net with a confused backhand, he constructed the point with quick net dribbles and set himself up for one of his trademark drop shots. Srikanth’s Superseries drought continues.
Game 2 – Lee 22: 22 Srikanth
This goes on, on, on and on. Would you believe it, Srikanth has squandered seven game point opportunities and Lee leads for the first time in the game. What an enthralling encounter this is turning out to be. More unforced errors from Srikanth.
Game 2 – Lee 20: 20 Srikanth
Incredible! This was magnificent from the local boy, who saved five game points to take the game into the tie-breaker. Srikanth was once again befuddled with his opponent’s drop shots and made a couple of unforced errors of his own, hitting it at the net or going long.
Game 2 – Lee 14: 18 Srikanth
Srikanth has a crucial lead to hold on to. Lee has made a valiant comeback in the game and continues to earn points with his drop shots.
Game 2 – Lee 9: 14 Srikanth
Lee’s changes are getting fewer and fewer. Srikanth has comfortably been the better player in the second game. There was a 17-point rally here as well, but unlike the last game, Srikanth was the one who pocketed the point.
Game 2 – Lee 8: 11 Srikanth
Srikanth is playing with some swagger here as the players head into the break. The Indian was able to stem the rut and managed to bamboozle Lee with a couple of sumptuous backhands. It has been a fascinating second game so far.
Game 2 – Lee 6: 6 Srikanth
Commentator’s curse here and it’s Srikanth who is under pressure now. Lee is now comfortably getting the better of his opponent. A 17-point rally also went his way. Ominous signs again for the former world No 1.
Game 2 – Lee 1: 4 Srikanth
That’s the start Srikanth would have wanted. The Indian is much better with his defence and is retrieving superbly. He is also able to anticipate Lee’s drop shots a lot better.
Lee wins first game 21-9
Well, that was easy for the local lad. He took only 14 minutes to pocket this one and Srikanth has a mountain to climb. Almost nothing went his way in this game. The drop shots kept getting better and for the relentless Lee. At game point, he hit a tired shot at the net but that was merely delaying the inevitable. Such has been Lee’s class this evening.
Game 1 – Lee 17: 8 Srikanth
Lee claws his way back and shows determination to ensure that the lead doesn’t slip away from his grasp. It’s back to one-way traffic. There were two cross-court drops on either side by Lee, both a thing of beauty. Srikanth now has a lot of ground to cover up.
Game 1: Lee 12: 7 Srikanth
Much needed break for Srikanth and he reels off three points in a stretch straight after. The momentum is shifting here. The Indian rolled back the clock while smashing two gorgeous cross-court smashes. Srikanth has managed to close the gap somewhat.
Game 1: Lee 11: 3 Srikanth
The backhand continues to be a problem for Srikanth and Lee is pushing his opponent around the court relentlessly. It has been one-way traffic so far. The home player also gets a challenge right. This couldn’t have been any better from him.
Game 1: Lee 8: 1 Srikanth
More unforced errors from Srikanth as Lee’s drops are proving to be too hot to handle. Srikanth gets a point but, once again, the 27-year-old reels off four points in a stretch. Ominous signs for the former world No 1
Game 1: Lee 4: 0 Srikanth: A couple of unforced errors from Srikanth and a couple of pin-point smashed puts Lee in the lead. The home crowd are getting behind the local boy. Not the start the Indian wanted.
4:57 pm: Srikanth may have missed out on crucial match practice coming into this contest as Olympic champion Chen Long retired due to injury.
4:55 pm: The former world No 1 is on the rise. Can he end his Superseries drought here? The Indian has the measure of his opponent in head-to-head meetings in the past.
4:50 pm: It’s time for the semi-finals. Srikanth has reached the last-four stage for the first time in eight months. Jonatan Christie and Anthony Ginting will clash in in the all-Indonesian second semi-final.
Kidambi Srikanth will be aiming to seal a spot in the final as he goes up against local favourite Lee Cheuk Yiu in the semi-finals of the 2019 Hong Kong Open on Saturday.
Srikanth, the lone Indian shuttler in fray at the BWF World Tour Super 500 event was earlier handed a spot in a last four after his opponent Chen Long retired hurt during the previous game.
This is the first time that the Guntur-born shuttler, currently ranked 13 in the BWF rankings, has managed to make it to last eight on the BWF World Tour in seven months. Cheuk Yiu heads into the semis having defeated Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen in the previous contest.
Srikanth and Cheuk Yiu have face each other only one occasion. It was at the 2018 India Open, where the Indian won in straight games.