Kidambi Srikanth beat compatriot Sameer Verma 22-20, 19-21, 23-21 in the men’s singles quarterfinals of the Denmark Open 2018 on Thursday. In a match that lasted an hour and 18 minutes, Srikanth, as usual, took his time to settle but soon was able to work Sameer around. However, it was Sameer who had a slender 11-10 advantage at mid-break of the first game as he took three consecutive points. Sameer wasn’t backing down as he had come into the quarterfinals at the back of some big wins. Saina Nehwal, on the other hand overcame a difficult start to her quarterfinal match against Nozomi Okuhara to reach the semifinals of the Denmark Open on Friday night. The Indian star lost the first game but won the next two to stun the eighth-seeded Japanese. Saina won 17-21, 21-16, 21-12 in a match lasting 58 minutes to book a last four clash against Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia. Saina is the only Indian in the women’s singles draw after third seed PV Sindhu suffered a shock defeat in the opening round of the tournament.
Live Updates Between Kidambi Srikanth vs Kento Momota, Saina Nehwal vs Gregoria Mariska, Denmark Open 2018 Badminton Semi Final at Odense, Denmark
16:42 IST: Superior seeded Kenoto Momota nets it! Kidambi Srikanth takes a 9-6 lead in the first game. He looks so much better when he is relaxed, Srikanth.
16:40 IST: Long rally! A mix of soft touches and long shot from Kidambi Srikant. Both the players looked to play the net shots but Srikanth takes two consecutive points to lead 7-5.
16:38 IST: Kidambi Srikanth plays the shot wide, reaches within touching distance to Momota. Srikanth trails 3-4 in the opening game.
16:36 IST: Back-to-back points for Kidambi! He comes from behind to take a slender 2-1 lead in the opening game before Momota two back to lead 3-2. It’s looking neck-in-neck.
16:35 IST: We are underway! Kidambi Srikanth makes the opening serve, Kento Momota takes the initial point. The smash from Kidambi ends up taking the net.
16:30 IST: Kidambi Srikanth has taken the centre court amidst large cheer from the crowd, Kento Momota follows.
16:20 IST: Japan’s Kento Momota leads the head-to-head battle 8-3 against Kidambi Srikanth.
16:00 IST: Hello and welcome to the live commentary from the semi-final clash of the Denmark Open 2018 between Kidambi Srikanth and Kento Momota.
Saina’s victory against Okuhara comes at the back of a superlative performance that saw her conquer world number two Akane Yamaguchi of Japan for the first time in four years. The Indian shuttler, who is unseeded in the tournament won her match rather convincingly against Yamaguchi, and she seemed to carry forward into the last eight match against Okuhara. Saina was outgunned by Okuhara in the first game, trailing from start to finish. But she came out fighting in the second. The Japanese shuttler seemed to be coasting in the second game as well, having taken a 7-3 lead. Saina closed the gap by winning three points in a row but again fell a fairway behind as Okuhara opened a 10-6 lead.
But that was the last of Okuhara’s dominance. Saina won four consecutive points to draw level at 10-10 and then soon opened a 15-12 lead. The Indian never looked back from there and went on to win the game 21-16 to take the quarterfinal into a decider. The final game was a procession for Saina as she completely decimated her higher-ranked opponent. A six-point burst helped Saina take a commanding 12-3 lead and Okuhara never recovered after that.
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