India's dry run in Badminton Asia Championships continues
Indian shuttlers have never won an Asian title in the history of Badminton Asia and it turned out to be another "dry run" in this year's edition which began in Wuhan, China on Tuesday.
India's top two women shuttlers - P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal - seeded fourth and seventh respectively and unseeded Sameer Verma - were bundled out in the quarter-finals on Friday.
Srikanth, who is coming back after a poor run last year due to injuries fell in the first round when he lost to Indonesia's Shesar Hiren Rhustavito in straight games 16-21, 20-22. Srikanth's best year was in 2017 when he won four superseries titles.
India's hopes soared when Sindhu and Nehwal made the last eight together with Verma. However, the day did not belong to the Indians at the Wuhan Sports Center Gymnasium as the trio failed to make Saturday's semi-finals.
The rot started with the defeat of Verma who was no match for China's second seed Shi Yuqi. Verma went out tamely 10-21, 12-21.
Commonwealth Games champion Saina Nehwal toiled for 69 minutes but could not stop Japan's third seed Akane Yamaguchi from snatching a 21-13, 21-23, 21-16 win.
"It is disappointing to lose in this manner. Yamaguchi kept coming back in the rubber as I grew tired in the decider. I had a good lead at 11-6 in the rubber but simply could not turn the tide," said Nehwal who next heads to the New Zealand Open - the first tournament that will offer Olympic qualifying points.
India's last hope was fourth seed P.V. Sindhu but the Rio Olympic silver medallist and winner of the World Tour Finals last year was also disappointing - lasting only 31 minutes in her 19-21, 9-21 defeat to China's Cai Yanyan.
Coach Mohammed Siyadath, however, is confident that the Indian players will bounce back from their recent disappointing results. Nehwal is the only one to have won a title this year when she won the Indonesia Masters.
"The change of coaches also affected the performance of the players. I believe we have the material to bounce back. They will come back strong," said Siyadath.