Top Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth's poor run continued as he went down in straight games to Olympic and world champion Viktor Axelsen in his opening men's singles match at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open Super 750 tournament in New Delhi on Wednesday. (More Badminton News)
Srikanth squandered a 14-5 lead in the second game after losing the opening to go down 14-21 19-21 to the world number 1, leaving the cheering fans at the IG stadium disappointed.
With the crowd rooting for him, Srikanth, a former world no.1, started dominating the rallies, extracting mistakes from Axelsen. The Indian tried to lunge his opponent forward, using his strokes to move the tall Dane.
However, Axelsen was caught up at 8-8 and then with a round head smash took a three-point lead at the break.
At 13-9, Axelsen committed a rare service error before another shot went to the net.
Srikanth tried to set up the rallies, but often erred in his finishing.
The Dane eventually sealed the opening game after the Indian smashed out twice.
Srikanth made an attacking start after the change of ends, using his smashes to good use, to lead 5-1. Two tight smashes on either side helped the Indian to maintain his lead to 8-3 before he entered the break with a healthy seven-point advantage when Axelsen went to the net.
Srikanth didn't let the intensity slip after resumption to lead 14-6.
However, Axelsen got back his bearing in the nick of time with the Indian suddenly committing a series of unforced errors to allow his rival to bring the equation down to 13-15.
He fluffed the lines and went to the nets repeatedly as soon as it was 17-16. Another net error helped Axelsen to draw parity at 18-18. Luck also seemed to have left him as his return bounced off the tape and landed out.
Axelsen soon grabbed two match points and then produced a precise return on the front court to raise his hands in celebration.