File image of Kidambi Srikanth© Twitter

Former champion Kidambi Srikanth staved off a spirited challenge from Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long Angus to progress to the second round of the Denmark Open Super 750 badminton tournament in Odense on Tuesday. Returning to the venue where he had claimed the title five years ago, the 2021 World Championships silver medallist notched up a 17-21 21-14 21-12 win over the world number 14 Hong Kong player in a 56-minute contest. Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand also advanced to the next round after beating Denmark’s Alexandra Boje and Amalie Magelund 21-15 21-15 in their women’s doubles opener.

The Indian pairing will meet sixth seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai of Thailand.

Coming into the match with a 3-3 head-to-head record, Srikanth found the going tough against Angus, and soon fell behind as the Hong Kong player eked out a 11-8 lead at the mid-game interval.

Angus didn’t allow the Indian to make a comeback to eventually take the opening game.

In the second game, Srikanth managed to take a 6-3 lead but Angus turned the tables to grab a 10-8 lead.

Srikanth got his act together in the nick of time and reeled off eight straight points to move to 16-10. He kept his calm to take the match to the decider. In the third game, Srikanth came out all guns blazing to jump to a 11-4 cushion at the interval. He produced some good quality shots at the net and also covered the court well to seal the match comfortably with a sharp return at his rival’s front court.

The former world number one Indian will take on 2021 world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore in the next round.

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