Kashyap, Saina sparkle

Kashyap, Saina sparkle

Parupalli Kashyap and Saina Nehwal scored contrasting opening round victories to bring some cheer on a disappointing day for Indians at the Yonex Sunrise India Open badminton at Siri Fort Sports Complex here on Wednesday.

Indian shuttlers found the going tough against a strong field with World No 9 women’s singles player PV Sindhu leading the list of causalities followed by men’s singles players in national champion K Srikanth, HS Prannoy and B Sai Praneeth.

Kashyap dimmed the pall of gloom with his hour-long 21-12, 17-21, 21-12 upset win over sixth-seeded Wang Zhengming of China and, later, Saina notched up a lop-sided 21-7, 21-9 victory over Austrian Simone Prutsch. The eighth-seeded Indian next plays Thailand’s Natcha Saengchote.

Sourabh Varma and RMV Gurusaidutt were the only two Indian men to join Kashyap in the second round while former national champion Sayali Gokhale and Trupti Murgunde were among the surviving Indians in women’s singles draw.

Varma overcame Vladimir Ivanov of Russia 21-16, 17-21, 21-14 to set up a meeting with top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, who beat India’s K Ajay Kumar 21-9, 21-9. Gurusaidutt beat Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei 17-21, 21-16, 21-17.

Sindhu, a semifinalist here last year, broke the hearts of small but enthusiastic gathering after going down 15-21, 21-12, 10-21 to second-seeded Wang Shixian of China. This was the 18-year-old’s first loss to Wang in four meetings.

Sindhu was off to an indifferent start and Wang seized the initiative by not giving the Indian enough pace to go for her strokes.

Sindhu, however, shot back in the second game. After a neck and neck contest, she took an 11-9 lead at interval and on resumption racked points with urgency to push the match to the decider.

She began with flourish but slumped to a rash of errors to fall behind 4-11. She could never really recover from there.

“A lot of my returns from the midcourt, especially, my taps were not going in. She started taking points which actually belonged to me. It was just not my day,” said a visibly dejected Sindhu.

Kashyap, who nursed a sore left shoulder during the German Open, found his form last week by making the semifinals of the Swiss Open. He still has to play with his shoulder strapped but says he has learnt to adjust to it.  

The 24th-ranked Indian, who had reached the semifinals in 2012, scored some thrilling points at the net before sealing his first victory over the Chinese in three meetings.
 “Just so happy to be able to beat him. He is a kind of player who reads me well. But today I was anticipating his strokes better. I think the confidence that I got after reaching Swiss Open semifinals was the key,” said Kashyap, who now plays Gurusaidutt.

In other women’s first round encounters, top seed Li Xuerui beat Eriko Hirose of Japan 21-13, 21-10 while third seed Wang Yihan got the better of Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk 21-19, 22-20.

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