India’s Sankar Muthusamy signed off with a silver medal after losing the men’s singles final in straight games against Chinese Taipei’s Kuo Kuan Lin at the BWF World Junior Championships in Spain on Sunday. The 18-year-old from Tamil Nadu went down fighting 14-21 20-22 to Kuan Lin in a 48-minute summit clash. The former world junior number one thus joined fellow Indians Aparna Popat (1996), Saina Nehwal (2006) and Siril Verma (2015) in winning a silver medal at the prestigious tournament.
Only the second Indian male shuttler to reach the final, Sankar’s defence couldn’t withstand the relentless attack of the Taiwanese, who rode on his power to trouble the Indian.
Kuan Lin pounced on the weak returns of his opponent and produced some devastating jump smashes to dominate the rallies. The fourth seeded Indian kept battling and even saved six match points, but it was not to be as he settled as the second best.
The left-handed Sankar looked to play his retrieval game but the Taiwanese was more quick and managed the find the gaps with his steep returns. The result was Lin quickly marched to an 11-9 lead.
Sankar looked to engage his rival in rallies. It worked to an extent as he managed to draw parity at 13-13 after engaging Lin in a net duel.
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But few unforced errors from the Indian, and Kuan Lin’s jump smashes took him to 20-14 advantage, and the Taiwanese sealed it when Sankar went long again.
After the change of sides, Lin continued to dominate the proceedings with his power game, leading 4-0. The Chennai boy, however, managed to claw back at 5-5.
Lagging 7-10, the Indian unleashed a powerful smash to show the first real signs of dominance, but Kuan Lin managed to eke out a two-point cushion at the interval.
Sankar tried to keep the shuttle in play to wear his opponent down, but Kuan Lin was always a step ahead, landing his smashes with precision.
Kuan Lin, eventually, grabbed six match points but Sankar scripted a sensational recovery, saving all six, to raise hopes of a turnaround. But the Taiwanese earned another match point with another smash and sealed it with a steep return.
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