India’s young shuttlers performed creditably in the first round of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open, but their best Men’s Singles player was ousted by his nemesis today.
Kashyap Parupalli, the top ranked Indian at No.7, was expected to outplay the out-of-form Taufik Hidayat (Indonesia, No. 26), but the wily veteran used all the tricks in his book to turn the tables on the Indian for the seventh time in succession. Apart from that result, local fans had plenty to cheer with a number of Indians – in the singles especially – moving to the second round.
In Men’s Singles, the biggest upset of the day was administered by India’s fast-rising youngster K Srikanth (No. 64), who took down no less an opponent than fourth seed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark. Srikanth, who lost to Jorgensen at the Swiss Open in March, got the better of the Dane 21-7 18-21 21-12. Srikanth will face compatriot Gurusaidutt, who beat Tommy Sugiarto (Indonesia) in a match of long defensive rallies, 21-16 21-17. Srikanth and Gurusaidutt were among seven Indians in the second round – the others being HS Prannoy, Ajay Jayaram, Anand Pawar, Sourabh Verma and Sai Praneeth.
Top seed Lee Chong Wei (Malaysia) had no trouble against Scott Evans (Ireland) during a 21-16 21-5 victory, but Hu Yun (Hong Kong, 3) ran into some trouble against Simon Santoso (Indonesia) before easing through in the third game, 21-18 13-21 21-6. The lone Chinese in the Men’s Singles draw, Chen Yuekun, could not make it past Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka (Indonesia), who won an entertaining match, 24-22 19-21 21-14. Another interesting result was Kazumasa Sakai’s (Japan) win over Wong Wing Ki (Hong Kong).
However, the match that had everyone engrossed was the Parupalli-Hidayat match-up. The Indian had lost six straight matches to Hidayat, but with the Indonesian only a few months away from retirement, Parupalli must have believed this would be his moment. For most of the first game the momentum was with the Indian. Hidayat appeared leaden-footed.
As the match progressed, Hidayat began to regain his mastery of the net, coaxing the shuttle over the tape and putting Parupalli under pressure with his rich repertoire of strokes. The Indian had one chance to close out the match in the second game, but he faltered and, from then on, Hidayat played flawlessly to shut the door on the Indian.
“I was surprised with the support I got,” said Hidayat. “I thought the crowd would be against me, but I heard many people shouting for me. I love playing in India.”
• Local stars Saina Nehwal (seeded 1) and PV Sindhu (8) made it to the second round in Women’s Singles. Nehwal beat Belaetrix Manuputi (Indonesia) 21-12 21-15, while Sindhu avenged an earlier loss to Yao Xue (China) by beating her 17-21 21-18 21-14. Other contenders, including Juliane Schenk (Germany, 2), Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand, 3) and Minatsu Mitani (Japan, 4) progressed in straight games.
• In Mixed Doubles, recently-crowned Asian Champions Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na (Korea) were given a torrid time by Tarun Kona/Ashwini Ponnappa (India). The Indians saved four match points in the second game before eventually falling 21-16 23-25 21-19.
• In Men’s Doubles, all the seeds progressed without breaking much sweat. While top seeds Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen (Denmark) eased past Rupesh Kumar/Sanave Thomas (India) 21-9 21-15, second seeds Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong (Malaysia) were just as untroubled by Songphon Anugritayawon/Pisit Poodchalat (Thailand) 21-15 21-18.
Text by Dev Sukumar