Newly-crowned world no.1 Kidambi Srikanth settled for a silver in the men's singles circuit after ace Malaysian shuttler Lee Chong Wei outsmarted the Indian 21-19, 21-14, 21-14 to bag the gold medal at Commonwealth Games 2018. It was always a losing battle for Srikanth thereafter as the Malaysian was in no mood to let go of his grip on that gold medal with his fourth win over the Indian. He stepped up another gear to clinch the deciding game 21-14. Srikanth will be hoping to do a repeat of that performance against the unsafe Chong Wei.
Lee was in complete form after the mid-game break in the second game as he sent smashes out of Srikanth's reach to win points in the high-intensity match. Lee was on a completely different level in the next game.
Srikanth had replaced the injured Viktor Axelsen at the top of the men's singles world rankings on Thursday. India's coach just sat there, unmoved in his chair by the court sidelines as Srikanth dispatched a smash into the net, shut his eyes and winced, nearly as if not wanting to take a second look at his schoolboy error. The Indian narrowly won the first set 21-19.
The third and the final game was all about Lee Chong Wei's absolute brilliance. In a close fought encounter, both Kidambi and Lee were breathing heavily on the neck of each other, hardly allowing an inch of space to gather points. I admire him for his aggressive style of play and when you're playing someone like him you have to be at your best.
Dressed in bright lemon-colored shorts and a T-shirt, he threw himself, arms and legs sprawled, on the court and then hugged Srikanth at the net.
"Lee Chong Wei, Lee Chong Wei", the arena was roaring as the Malaysian picked up his match point and dropped himself to ground.
Chong Wei now has five Commonwealth gold medals to his name (three singles and two mixed team) and one silver (mixed team) across the three editions of the event he has competed in (Melbourne 2006, New Delhi 2010 and Gold Coast 2018).
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