Indian challenge ended at the Hong Kong Open World Tour Super 500 tournament after Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma lost their respective men's singles quarterfinal matches on Friday.
Fourth seed Srikanth suffered a 17-21, 13-21 loss to eighth seed Kenta Nishimoto for his first loss to the Japanese in four meetings. The Indian had beaten Nishimoto thrice before this match.
Later, world no 18 Sameer also failed to tame local hope Lee Cheuk Yiu, who came through the qualifiers to seal his maiden semi-final spot with a 21-15, 19-21, 21-11 win in a match that last an hour and 13 minutes.
Srikanth couldn't threaten Nishimoto, who lead 12-7 at one stage in the opening game. The Indian did claw back and even had a slender 14-13 lead but the Japanese soon left him behind with four straight points before pocketing the opening game.
The Indian looked clueless in the second game as he struggled right from the start even as Nishimoto surged to 6-2 and then reeled off seven straight points to grab a massive 13-3 advantage, a deficit which the Indian couldn't erase to bow out of the contest.
Later in the day, Sameer, who had reached the finals of the Hong Kong Open in 2016, couldn't find a way to outwit an athletic Lee Cheuk Yiu, who was rewarded for his control and precision.
Sameer had beaten Lee at the New Zealand Open earlier this year but that didn't matter as Lee opened up a 4-0 lead in the opening game and consolidated it to 12-3 at one stage.
Sameer managed to claw back to 15-16 but the Hong Kong player reeled off the required five points to take the opening game. The Indian lagged again in the second game, before he managed to erase a 5-8 deficit and take a 14-11 lead.
The Indian held a four-game point advantage in the end. Lee saved three before a controversial line call helped Sameer take the match to the decider.
In the third game, the duo split the initial 10 points before Lee eked out a five-point advantage, reaching 11-6 at the break.
After changing the sides, Sameer couldn't break the run of points, going wide and long. The local qualifier looked more aggressive and seized the opportunities to continue his domination.
Lee eventually sealed his place in the semifinals when Sameer's return hit the net.
Myneni to meet Gunneswaran in Bengaluru Open final
Saketh Myneni will square off with compatriot Prajnesh Gunneswaran in an all-India summit clash at the Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger tournament on Saturday.
In Friday's first semi-final, Myneni beat Kazakhastan's Aleksandr Nedovyesov 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in a thrilling three-setter to make it to the title round of $ 150, 000 event.
In the second semi-final, Gunneswaran breezed past Canadian Brayden Schnur 6-4, 6-1.
World no 213 Myneni made an easy third set difficult after racing to a 5-0 lead in the decider. He committed far too many unforced errors, helping Aleksandr win four games on the trot before closing the match in the 10th game.
"I started a bit slow, but accelerated as I had to give something to the spectators who assembled here. From second set onwards, I played an aggressive game, though I committed a few unforced errors," Myneni said after the match.
"Yes, in the deciding set, I missed out on some of the easy volleys at the net. Yes, I have to cut down on my errors and I am working on it," he added.
Having lost the first set, Myneni was down 1-3 in the second set but held his serve and broke Aleksandr in sixth game to make it 3-3.
In the ninth game, Myneni brought about a couple of first winners on his serves, racing past his rival 5-4.
Serving at 0-15, Aleksandr was stunned by a forehand winner by Myneni, who broke his opponent to win the set and restored parity before winning the decider.
Manav assures bronze in Belarus Open
Indian paddler Manav Vikash Thakkar scored an easy 3-0 win over Russia's Lev Katsman to enter the semifinals and assure himself of at least a bronze in under-21 men's singles category at the ITTF Challenge Belgosstrakh Belarus Open.
Manav notched up a 3-0 (11-5, 11-7, 15-13) win over Katsman in the U-21 men's singles quarterfinals.
He had earlier displayed his prowess, registering a hard-fought 3-2 (9-11, 3-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-9) win against World No. 8 Yuki Matsuyama of Japan in the round of 16.
Manav started off his campaign with an easy 3-0 (11-6, 11-2, 11-8) win over Russia's Maksim Grebnev. In the next clash, Israel's Aviv Ben-Ari put up a staunch fight but capitulated to the Indian as Manav won the game 3-1 (12-10, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7).
In the men's singles event, Manav had breezed past Japan's Kohei Sambe 4-2 on Thursday to progress into the round of 32.
Manav didn't have the best of starts as he went down 6-11 in the first game but bounced back to win the next three and capitalized on the lead to bag the tie 4-1.
He will take on World No. 101, Belgium's Robin Devos in the round of 32 encounter later on Friday.
Among others, Harmeet Desai also progressed to the next round of the senior category with a convincing 4-0 win over Germany's Dennis Klein but Sanil Shetty couldn't follow suit, bowing out of the tournament rather meekly after a 0-4 loss to Russia's Denis Ivonin.
Desai will take on Alexey Liventsov of Russia next.
In the men's doubles category, the duo of Harmeet-Sanil couldn't get past the combination of Oleksandr Didukh of Ukraine and Lubomir Pistej of Slovakia in their opening round of 16, going down 1-4 to bow out of the tournament.