Parupalli Kashyap has had a tough run off late. After his battle with injuries and a dip in form has seen him drop substantially in the world raking, making his stated dream of qualifying for Tokyo Olympics much difficult.
But the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist is slowly trying to claw his way back to the top and strung together another good win on Thursday to reach the quarterfinals of the India Open Super 500 badminton tournament in New Delhi.
Kashyap dominated the second round encounter against Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand 21-11 21-13 to reach the last eight stage of a tournament for the first time this year. He will now face Tzu Wei Wang who defeated Subhankar Dey of India 21-16, 21-13.
“I was better prepared for his game today and controlled it from the start,” said Kashyap. “He started well and connected his smashes. This is third or fourth time I have beaten him because I know his game very well.”
The former world number six rued the fact that he had to miss the Rio Olympics which affected his game. But given there is still time for Tokyo, he wants to rise in the rankings and qualify for the 2020 Games.
“I hope I can hit form on time and this quarters is a good thing after a long time,” he said. “I have not been qualifying for 1000 and 500 for long because my rankings are not good. But I think I have the game and the the experience. Just that my body needs to be supportive.”
Three other Indian reached the quarter-finals in men’s singles as B Sai Praneeth, HS Prannoy and Kidambi Srikanth put up impressive wins. The former defeated Sameer Verma 18-21, 21-16, 21-15 in thrilling encounter while Prannoy once again got the better of Jan O Jargensen to improve his head-to-head record to 4-0.
Prannoy defeated the Dane 21-19, 20-22, 21-17 and will now face top seed Viktor Axelsen in the quarter-finals.
Praneeth, who had reached the finals at Swiss Open earlier this month, had a difficult times managing the long rallies against Verma in the first game but as soon as he got the lead in the second game, it was a better show.
It was much easier for world number seven Kidambi Srikanth against Lu Guangzu as the Indian beat him 21-11 21-16 to advance.
But it was curtain for Wednesday’s star performer from India, Subhakar Dey. After upsetting world number nine Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia, the world number 44 was unable to match the pace of the game set by Wang of Chinese Taipei.
Wang used the space of the court in a clever manner and made the Indian run around for his points. The tiredness of Dey reflected in his game as he gave away easy points in the second game.
In other results, Riya Mookerjee went down 8-21, 21-17, 13-21 to eighth seed Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark.
In women’s doubles, Aparna Balan and Sruthi KP edged out Hong Kong duo of Wing Yung and Yeung Nga Ting 21-19 7-21 21-17.
Their senior compatriots Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy showed great resilience against Chinese pair of Xiaofei Chen and Chaomin Chnzhou to win 21-18, 21-14 and enter the quarter-finals.
India’s men’s doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Shivam Sharma also made it to the last eight beating compatriots Aniruddha Mayekar and Vinay Kumar Singh 21-15, 21-11.
Chopra and Shivam will next face sixth-seed pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy who beat Kaixiang Huang and Zekang Chanwang 25-23, 21-18 in straight games.
In the final game of the day, second seed PV Sindhu took another step towards the title as she defeated Deng Joy Xuan of Hong Kong 21-11 21-13 to reach the quarter-final in which she will face eighth seed Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark.
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