Indonesia Open: Saina, Kashyap storm into semis
India's Saina Nehwal edged out Chinese Shixian Wang after a marathon match to enter the women's singles semifinals at the Indonesia Open Super Series Premier badminton event here Friday. Compatriot Parupalli Kashyap also reached the last four of the men's singles defeating higher-ranked Hans-Kristian Vittinghus.
Saina, who could have sealed the quarterfinal in straight games after having three match points in the second game, held her nerve to come through 21-17, 21-23, 21-19.
The Hyderabadi fell to her knees when she converted her fourth match point and seemed emotional as she left the court after the 1 hour 37 minute battle.
World No.5 Saina improved her record against Shixian to 3-1 and, prior to the match here, had defeated her to win the Swiss Open in March. She next plays South Korea's Ji Hyun Sung, who packed off Xin Wang 21-16, 21-17.
Earlier, World No.26 Kashyap came up with another stellar performance in the tournament as he outclassed Vittinghus.
Kashyap, who stunned top seed Chen Long of China Thursday, took 39 minutes to dispatch a player ranked ten places above him with the final quarterfinal scoreline being 21-15, 21-14.
The 25-year-old now meets local hope Simon Santoso, who beat countryman Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka 21-17, 21-7.
A spring in Kashyap's stride was apparent after the thumping win against the Chinese. He was unstoppable in the opening game, hitting a remarkable 17 smashes.
It was much the same in the second game too as the Dane found it hard to contain Kashyap.
National coach Pullela Gopichand, who watched the match from the sidelines, said Kashyap's performance once gain reaffirmed that he was capable of beating the top players.
"It was a very different match from yesterday (against Chen). Today, he led throughout the match and was confident with his strokes. With the Chinese, you have to attack all the time but with Vittinghus he could also defend. He made good use of the court and the win yesterday has certainly given him a big boost," Gopichand told IANS.
Kashyap has qualified for the London Games alongside Saina.
Asked whether the performance here would bolster Kashyap's chances in the Olympics, Gopichand said: "Let's not think ahead of time. He is playing really well at the moment and is fully fit. Having said that, he is growing in confidence with victories against top-10 players."
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