Kidambi Srikanth and Lakshya Sen both lost in straight games in their first-round matches at the French Open Super 750 on Wednesday. India’s challenge in men’s singles at the coveted World Tour tournament came to an end with their exits.
Toma Junior Popov defeated Srikanth 17-21, 21-15 in 44 minutes, while Arnaud Merkle defeated Lakshya Sen 21-15, 21-18 in 55 minutes. Srikanth, who entered Rennes’ Glaz Arnea with a 3-1 head-to-head record against Popov, was penalised for his error-prone game.
This was world no. 22 Srikanth’s second first-round exit in two weeks. He was defeated by Weng Hong Yang at the Denmark Open Super 750 last week. In the opening game, Lakshya Sen struggled to deal with the drift in the air on Court 2 as his opponent Merkle, ranked 44th in the world, raced out to a 7-4 lead as the Indian shuttler shot the shuttle wide and long.
World no. 17 Lakshya, on the other hand, put on a show with a deceptive drop shot that sent Merkle down on his chest. Nonetheless, the 23-year-old Frenchman played with tremendous passion and zeal, causing Lakshya problems with his exquisite placement and smashes from a towering height.
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