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India campaign ends as Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth exit All England Open

Photo by Oscar Siagian/Getty Images

India's campaign ended at the All England Open after Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth lost their respective quarterfinal matches to current World No. 1s Tai Tzu Ying and Kento Momota on Friday.

Saina suffered a 15-21, 19-21 loss against two-time defending champion Tai, while Srikanth went down 12-21, 16-21 to Kento Momota later in the day.

Saina, who finished runner-up in 2015, has now lost her last 13 matches against Tai, with only four of those matches going to three games. Interestingly, Saina had lost to Tai in the first round at the All England Open last year. Her last win against Tai came as far back as 2013.

Tai is only playing her second tournament this year after suffering an injury at the World Tour Finals in December last year. She is now on course to win a hat-trick of titles at one of badminton's most prestigious tournaments.

She will look to emulate China's Xie Xingfang, who completed a hat-trick of titles when she won in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Tai was in control from start to finish barring a small period at the beginning of the second game, where Saina led till the changeover.

Srikanth, who had a title-less run last season after winning four tournaments in an incredible 2017, suffered his sixth-straight loss to Momota since 2018. His last win against Momota came in 2015 at the India Open -- a title which Srikanth would eventually go on to win.

In the first game of the quarterfinal, Momota broke off from 9-9 to grab 10 game points. Srikanth saved two before a cross-court return sealed it for the Japanese.

In the second game, Momota surged ahead from 3-3 to grab a 11-4 at the break and grabbed eight match points. The Indian saved four match points before losing the match that lasted 44 minutes.