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World No. 1 Srikanth loses gold to legendary Lee 

Gold Coast, April 15

The crowd was going crazy, the Malaysians in the stands were drowning out the Indian voices in the badminton hall of the Carrara Stadium. The quality of play was good, but there was a problem: Lee Chong Wei, the world No. 5, was nervous. No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth was nervous, too. The margins were small. Something had got to give. Unfortunately for India, it was Srikanth’s nerves which did give.Srikanth overturned a 0-5 deficit in the first game, reeled in points in a cluster and led 10-7. He always managed to stay ahead of the great Malaysian for the rest of the game, taking it 21-19.This rattled Lee. “I really didn’t expect to win,” Lee later said. “When I lost the first game, I thought I would lose the second game! But I try and try. My mind was focused – this is my last Commonwealth and I will try. I will keep on fighting!”He kept on fighting, Srikanth fought too, but his level dropped. He began to leak points, perhaps trying too hard as his plans failed to bear fruit. “I think I also played well,” he said later. “Somehow I lost the momentum in the second game, and he played well from there on.”Srikanth had beaten Lee in the mixed team match before the individual event, winning in straight games. This win was one huge reason India took the team gold. Today, though, perhaps through anxiety or expectations, he became a bit tight – he committed far too many unforced errors, and Lee was able to claw back. He never was caught after that.“When I won the second game, I got more confidence,” Lee analysed. “In my third game, I kept up the pace and when I was leading 5-0, I was confident. He tried to change strategy but I managed to attack him on simple mistakes. It was tiring, not easy. But I wanted to shake his confidence, regain my own confidence.”

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