Kidambi Srikanth fought hard before going down in a gruelling three-game men's singles quarterfinal against experienced German Marc Zweibler competition to draw curtains on the Indian challenge at the Japan Super Series badminton tournament on Friday.
The eighth seed, playing his first tournament after the Rio Olympics, suffered a narrow 21-18 14-21 19-21 loss to World No. 15 Marc in a 58-minute battle.
Srikanth came into the match with a 2-1 head-to-head record, having beaten Marc the last time at the China Open but there was hardly anything to differentiate the two players as both fought tooth and nail.
Srikanth had to push himself hard right in the middle of the opening game when after an initial neck and neck battle he found himself five points adrift of Marc at 10-15.
But the Indian changed gears and reeled off eight straight points from 12-16 to surpass the German. Marc saved two game points before Srikanth grabbed the opening game to be 1-0 up.
In the second game, Marc broke off at 6-6 and kept his nose ahead despite some spirited fight from Srikanth to level the score at 1-1.
In the decider, it was another gruelling battle but Srikanth managed to keep himself ahead for most part after opening up a 6-2 lead. However, Marc produced a rearguard action to not only catch up with the Indian at 16-16 but turn the tables at 18-16.
Marc managed to grab two match points at 20-18. Srikanth saved one but the German sealed it at the next opportunity.