India’s dream of Korea Open ends as No. 1 Momota downs Kashyap

Parupalli Kashyap, badminton, shuttler, Korea Open, PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal
Parupalli Kashyap was the lone Indian left in fray after the exit of PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Sai Praneeth (PTI File)

Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap on Saturday (September 28) crashed out of the Korea Open after he lost to World No. 1 Kento Momota of Japan in the men’s singles semifinals. Kashyap, the World No. 6 shuttler, was the lone Indian left in fray after the exit of PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Sai Praneeth.

On Friday, Kashyap went down 13-21 15-21 to the two-time reigning world champion Momota in 40 minutes, reported news agency PTI. The 33-year-old shuttler from Hyderabad had last played Momota four years ago at the Indonesia Open and had a 0-2 record against him prior to Saturday’s match.

The 2014 Commonwealth Games gold-medallist, Kashyap, had no answers to Momota’s precision as the Japanese opened up a 9-5 lead early on. A deceptive return and a body smash gave the Indian a couple of points before the Japanese entered the break with a four-point advantage after a long rally.

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Kashyap didn’t take enough initiative and often hit wide and long to end the energy-sapping rallies. It acted in Momota’s favour as he continued to accumulate points, reaching 18-10, the report said.

The Japanese committed an uncharacteristic unforced error and soon Kashyap added two more points but unforced errors, including a wide shot, gave Momota a comfortable 20-13 lead and he sealed it when Kashyap went wide again.

In the second game, the rallies became faster as the Japanese produced angled returns to put Kashyap out of position and then unleashed his precise strokes. The left-handed Momota soon worked up a lead of 7-2 with Kashyap missing the line far too many times.

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Kashyap slowly started putting pressure on Momota and gathered five straight points but the Japanese managed to held on to a 11-7 lead at the breather. The Indian unleashed a couple of smashes on Momota’s forehand to slowly narrow the lead to 11-12. A superb net stroke brought Kashyap to level par but he then hit the nets and send one long as the Japanese again surged ahead.

Momota soon made it 19-13 and grabbed six match points with a cross court smash. Kashyap saved one before the Japanese unleashed another accurate return to seal his place in the summit clash.

(With inputs from agencies)

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