Kidambi Srikanth showed great determination to outwit NG Ka Long Angus in a hard fought match to enter the semifinal of the Hylo Open Super 500 badminton tournament in Saarbrucken, Germany on Friday. Lakshya Sen also progressed to the semis after beating three-time junior World Champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn 21-18, 12-21, 21-19 in a seesawing contest.
The sixth-seeded Srikanth subdued the higher ranked Hong Kong shuttler 21-11 12-21 21-19 in a men's singles quarterfinal that lasted one hour and four minutes.
Srikanth, ranked 15, hardly broke a sweat in the first game, taking a 1-0 lead.
However, the Indian lost momentum in the second game as the world no. 9 Angus levelled the proceedings.
Both players dominated a game each but the decider was fought on an even keel.
In the end, Srikanth had five match points to seal the deal but the former world no. 1 squandered four before eking out a narrow win.
With the win Srikanth, levelled the head to head record against Angus. Both shuttlers now have three wins each against each other.
Srikanth will take on Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia in the semifinals. Lakshya will take on Singapore's Loh Kean Yew in the last four. Loh defeated fifth seed Rasmus Gemke in the quarters and top seed Chou Tien Chen in the opening round.
This was Lakshya's third win against Vitidsarn in six career meetings, evening their career head-to-head record. Lakshya and Vitidsarn have been touted as the brightest players from the next generation and regularly jostled for top bidding at the junior level before making the transition to the senior level. While Lakshya is currently ranked 21st in the world, Vitidsarn is ranked 24th
Lakshya and Loh have already met twice this year, with Loh winning on the first occasion in the final of the Dutch Open last month, while Lakshya won their most recent meeting at the French Open last week.
Lakshya is bidding to be the first Indian to win the title twice at the tournament after winning in 2019, when the tournament was called the SaarLorLux Open.
With inputs from PTI