Kashyap grabs his chances; Bhat falls

Japanese Kenichi sends fancied Persson packing

Fierce Focus: P Kashyap is all concentration on his way to Tuesday’s first-round victory. DH photo/Kishore Kumar Bolar

On another largely disappointing day for India, Kashyap brought some cheer to the home fans by putting out little-known Iranian Ali Shah Hosseini in straight games 21-7, 21-13 at the Gachibowli Stadium. 

Reigning National women’s champion Sayali Bhagat was good only patches during her 15-21, 14-21 first-round loss to Jei Yao of the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, the men’s doubles pair of Tarun Kona and Arun Vushnu was no match for Chinese Taipei’s World number 13 duo of Chen Hung Ling and Lin Yu Lang, losing 12-21, 14-21.

However, another men’s doubles combination of Akshay Dewalkar and Jishnu Sanyal hit it lucky when Thailand rivals Chalardchaleam Patipat and Narkthong Nuttaphon pulled out owing to illness.        

Kashyap will next run into world number two Jin Chen. The Hyderabadi, however, didn’t rule out his chances against the formidable Chinese. “I know it will be a tough match but if I play to my potential, I think I can beat him. This match was a good warm-up for me,” he remarked.  

While Kashyap’s win was along expected lines, it was heartbreak for Arvind Bhat, who came agonisingly close to ending his losing streak to Yu Hsing Hseih, only to finish second best to his Chinese Taipei’s rival again. The 21-14, 19-21, 24-22 verdict in favour of the world number nine was as close as it could get. 

Yu Hsing, a two-time winner over Bhat, definitely held a psychological edge coming into the match. And when he won the first game with a dominating performance, another defeat, it appeared, was very much on the cards for Bhat. The soft-spoken Bangalorean, however, caught his opponent on the wrong foot, employing an aggressive approach from the beginning of the second game. Mixing his smashes with smartly executed drops, Bhat ran up a handy 10-3 lead. A brief counter-attack, coupled with some unforced errors by Bhat, helped Yu Hsing close the gap briefly, but the Indian still enjoyed a 19-12 cushion and looked primed to close out the game. A tenacious Yu Hsing wasn’t going to make it easy for his rival. At 20-19, it was too close for comfort for Bhat, but he somehow managed to pull it off to push the match into a decider.

Seemingly out of contention in the final game, trailing as he was at 4-11, Bhat turned the game on its head to level it at 20-all after saving one match point. A long service return handed Bhat a match point, but he failed to seize the chance. Thrown a life-line, Yu Hsing wrapped up the match when Bhat’s smash went wide. A visibly upset Bhat admitted he threw it all way. “I am very sad with the end result. I deserved to win and I should have.

No excuses, I wasted my chances,” he said.

The lone upset of the day came when Japan’s Tago Kenichi shocked Denmark’s world number seven Joachim Persson 16-21, 21-14, 21-13. Meanwhile, Indonesian ace Taufik Hidayat sailed into the second round, brushing aside Switzerland’s Christian Boesiger in straight games 21-14, 21-14.   

Wednesday will be a big day with top woman player Saina Nehwal scheduled to play Russian Anastasia Prokopenko and Chetan taking on Bulgaria’s Stilian Mekarski in their respective second-round matches.

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