Bangkok, Jun 2 (IANS): Indian shuttler Kiran George's magical run in the Thailand Open badminton tournament came to an end with a defeat to Toma Junior Popov of France in the quarterfinals here on Friday,
The 23-year-old Kiran George, who had caused a couple of upsets to reach the last-eight stage of the Thailand Open, went down 16-21, 17-21 in a 41-minute encounter against the 28th-ranked French player at the
Kiran George had defeated third seed Shi Yu Qi of China in the first round and then got the better of another Chinese shuttler, Weng Hong Yang in the pre-quarters.
Playing in a quarterfinal of a BWF World Tour Super 500 event for the first time, Kiran George, the Odisha Open 2022 winner, conceded an early lead as the French player surged to a 5-0 lead.
Though the Indian shuttler reduced the margin to 7-6, but Popov won the next three points to make it 10-7. The Indian tied the score at 10-10 and after a regular exchange of points, Popov took the lead at 17-14 and though George fought well for the next few points, the French shuttler went on to win the first game 21-16.
The second game was closer as both players fought tooth and nail for each point as the lead exchanged hands a couple of times. Popov gained a narrow lead at 5-3 before George fought back to gain the upper hand at 11-8. The neck-and-neck fight continued till 17-all before Popov won four points in a row to win the game and the match at 21-17 to clinch a place in the semifinals.
He will next face eighth seed Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong, who defeated Malaysia's Ng Tze Yong 21-19, 23-21 in another quarterfinal.