BWF World Championships final: Kidambi Srikanth settles for silver
India's Kidambi Srikanth lost against Loh Kean Yew of Singapore in the final of the 2021 BWF World Championships. Yew beat Srikanth in 21-15, 22-20 in straight games to lift the coveted title. On Saturday, Srikanth became the first Indian man to reach the finals of the BWF World Badminton Championships. He produced a stunning turnaround, beating his compatriot Lakshya Sen.
- To register a record in becoming the first Indian to reach the BWF World Championships final is a massive achievement for Srikanth.
- He played well throughout the tournament and richly deserved his place.
- However, Lew was a tough nut for Srikanth to crack in the final.
- Srikanth did show some fight in the second game and took things close, but Yew prevailed.
In the first round, Srikanth overcame Spain's Pablo Abian 21-12, 21-16 in straight games. In the second round, the 28-year-old Indian shuttler defeated China's LI Shi Feng 15-12, 2-18, 21-17 in a thrilling encounter. The next round saw Srikanth tame China's LU Guang Zu 21-10, 21-5. In the quarters, he breezed past Netherlands' Mark Caljouw 21-8, 21-7. A win over Sen followed suit.
Loh Kean Yew prevailed over Olympic champion and top seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the first round. He beat the defending champion 14-21, 21-9, 21-6. The Singaporean beat Austria's Luka Wraber 21-4, 21-8 next. Yew overcame Thailand's Kantaphon Wangcharoen 21-4, 21-7 before beating India's HS Prannoy 21-14, 21-12 in 43 minutes. In the semis, the 22nd ranked player beat Anders Antonsen 23-21, 21-14.
Srikanth endured several injuries ahead of the BWF World Championships. He had a lean patch as well and also missed the Tokyo 2020 Olympics berth. Overall, Srikanth, who is the world number 14 at the moment, has won 256 of 398 matches in his career (lost 142). In 2021, he has also won 18 and lost 17 matches.
Srikanth became the first Indian to win a silver medal in this competition. India have now won four medals in the men's category. Prakash Padukone had won the bronze in 1983 as Sai Praneeth and Sen followed suit in 2019 and 2021 respectively.
Srikanth and Yew locked horns in the men's singles semi-finals during the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Srikanth went on to beat Loh Kean in straight games 21-17, 21-14. And now, Yew has made it 1-1.
World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying, who beat PV Sindhu in the quarters, finished with a silver medal at the BWF World Championships on Sunday. She faced a one-sided defeat in the final to Japan's Akane Yamaguchi. Tai suffered a 21-14, 21-11 defeat in just 39 minutes. Meanwhile, He Bingjiao and Zhang Yiman of China won the bronze medals in the women's singles.
Japan's Hoki Takuro and Kobayashi Yugo overcame China's He Ji Ting and Tan Qiang to win the men's doubles honor. China's Chen Quing Chen and Jia Yi Fan beat South Korea's Lee Sohee and Shin Seungchan 21-16, 21-17 to win gold in women's doubles. Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai won the mixed doubles title, beating Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino in straight games.
Notably, this is the second World Championships medal for Yamaguchi, who had earlier won the bronze, beating Sindhu 21-16, 24-22 in 2018.