Hong Kong: Top seed China’s Chen Long prevented Kidambi Srikanth from becoming synonymous with ‘Chinese-killer’ by blasted past the Indian in three sets in the semifinals of the men’s singles event of the USD 350,000 Hong Kong Open on Saturday. Chen Long defeated Srikanth 21-17, 19-21, 21-6 in 64 minutes.
Chen Long who defeated K. Srikanth at the BWF World Championships in August and zoomed to a 10-3 lead early in the first set. Chen eventually moved to the game point with a mid-court smash and soon pocketed the opening game when Srikanth hit the nets again.
In the second game, Srikanth struggled with the length early on and missed a few points hitting out as Chen led 4-0. Srikanth clawed back at 8-8 with the help of a smash and then moved ahead when Chen found the net. Though Chen clinched the lead again with some brilliant net play, Srikanth managed to enter the interval 11-10 ahead. Srikanth played some attacking shots to extend the lead to 14-11. The experienced Chinese kept breathing down his neck but the Indian wriggled out of some tricky situations to lead 18-16. Chen erased the deficit but two erratic shots from him took Srikanth to 20-19 and the Indian grabbed the opportunity to bounce back in the contest when Chen hit long.
In the decider, Chen unleashed his power-packed smashes and anticipated the shots better to dominate the rallies and lead 11-4 at the interval. Srikanth continued to struggle after the breather as Chen had answers for all the tricky net dribbles and disguised strokes which the Indian threw at him. Srikanth also committed too many unforced errors, hitting wide and long to hand over a massive 20-6 lead and then buried one into the net as Chen celebrated.
Chen will take on Son Wan-ho on Sunday, after the South Korean beat second seed Jan O Jorgensen 21-15 21-15.