Saina, Aditi in quarters of ABC (pic)

Saina Nehwal

Saina Nehwal and Aditi Mutatkar reached the women’s quarterfinals of Asian Badminton Championship on Thursday.

However, it was all over for India in the men’s singles after lone survivor P Kashyap lost after a gallant fight in the pre-quarterfinals.Saina Nehwal

Top seeds Jwala Gutta and V Diju reached the mixed doubles quarterfinals after winning their second round match against Sheng Mu Lee and Yu Chin Chien of Chinese Taipei 24-22, 21-15. The world number 12 pair will next face Chinese duo of Zihan Qiu and Qing Tian on Friday.

Top seed Saina relied on long rallies to outclass Julia Pei Xian Wong of Malaysia 21-14, 21-16 and set up a clash with arch-rival seventh seed Mew Choo Wong of Malaysia in the quarterfinals.

Earlier, 13th seed Kashyap had bounced back from a game down and was going neck and neck in the third when a decision against him derailed his campaign and the Andra Pradesh player lost the battle 16-21, 21-18, 13-21 against Yun Hu.

Back from injury, Aditi also made a remarkable comeback from 16-20 down to eventually win the match 23-21, 21-11 against Hsiao Huan Chen of Chinese Taipei. She will face Chinese qualifier Xin Liu in the quarterfinals. Xin beat eighth seed Japanese Sayaka Sato in another match.

However, the biggest upset of the day was scripted by Hsuan Yi Hsueh of Chinese Taipei who sent top seed Indonesian Taufik Hidayat packing 22-20, 21-16 in a 39-minute clash to register the biggest win of his career.

Second seed Lin Dan, meanwhile, won his match against Chinese Taipei’s Tien Chen Chou 21-8, 21-17 in 30 minutes.

Third seed Indian men’s doubles pair of Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas reached the quarterfinals after notching up consecutive wins on the second day at the Siri Fort stadium.

The Indian pair steamrolled Bangladesh duo of Rais Mohd Uddin and Jabed Mostafa Mohd 21-10, 21-2 and then beat Thai pair of Patipat Chalardchaleam and Thitipong Lapoe 21-14, 21-15.

However, it was curtains for Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa after the pair squandered a first game lead to go down 21-18, 15-21, 17-21 to Indonesian combo of Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii in women’s doubles.

Shruti Kurian and Aparna Balan also crashed out after losing their second match against sixth seed Chinese pair of Pan Pan and Qing Tian 10-21, 12-21 in 24 minutes.

Earlier, they had beaten Singaporean pair of Aiying Xing and Beiwen Zhang 21-14, 21-9 in the first round.

Men’s doubles pair of Tarun Kona and Jishnu Sanyal found going tough and went down against Vietnamese pair of Nguyen Khang Huynh and Hoang Nam Nguyen 18-21, 21-12, 16-21 in a closely fought match.

Akshay Dewalkar and Arun Vishnu also became a first round casualty after going down 18-21, 15-21 against second seeds Hirokatsu Hashimoto and Noriyasu Hirata of Japan in 27 minutes.

Saina cruised to a 4-1 lead and widened the gap to 11-5 and held her fort till the end to pocket the first game.

However, in the second game, the Hyderabadi girl found it tough to handle the shuttle because of the faster court and switched on to long rallies while avoiding tosses and smashes to seal the match.

"One side of the court is faster so it was difficult to control the shuttle so I depended on long rallies and avoided tosses and smashes. Everybody is having a little problem on that side," she said.

Asked about the line call at 13-14 which went against her, Saina said the umpire had erred but she didn’t complain as such things can happen.

"It was out, I am sure but such mistakes happens. We have to be patience and keep our cool or we will end up losing the match," she said.

Saina said her match against Wong Choo Mew tomorrow will be a 50-50 chance as she has lost as well as won against her.

"I have lost to her but I have beaten her twice in the last year and so I feel it will be a 50-50 chance," she said.

In another women’s singles, down 11-16 after a gruelling initial fight, Aditi was left to do the catch up job as they moved to 16-20 but the gritty Pune girl didn’t give up hope and went on to save four match points first before eventually pocketing the game 23-21.

In the next game, Aditi played long rallies and it made her rival shaky and tired as from 9-all, the Indian pocketed a couple of points before reeling off nine straight points to seal the match in her favour.

Aditi said her never-say-die attitude won her the match. "I couldn’t read her drops. She has this weird action but I got accustomed eventually. I said to myself that I should not give up and that 18th point in the first game set the ball rolling for me," she said.

"This is my first quarters in ABC and I am very happy with my performance. It has boosted my confidence. I have become stronger mentally," she added.

Kashyap had also conjured up hopes of an upset as the Indian produced some immaculate repertoire of strokes and agility to bounce back after losing a close first game.

Kashyap kept the shuttle flat and engaged in long rallies and deft net play to overcome a 1-4 deficit and moved to 11-5 before closing the second game with a smash.

In the third game too, the diminutive Indian fought till 12-12 but a line call which was overruled by the chair umpire on the protest of his rival disturbed his concentration and the game slipped out of his hand.

"I lost focus after that line call. It disturbed me and after that I just couldn’t get going. He has a very tricky style of playing like Taufik (Hidayat). I was in the faster side so I was kept the shuttle down.

"I was getting points when I kept it in the corners. He is very good close to his body," said Kashyap, who have his B.Com examination on Saturday.

National coach Pullela Gopichand, who was seen discussing the decision with the line umpire, also agreed that the decision affected his game.

"Law says if the chair umpire has to overhaul a decision, he has to do it immediately after the shuttle touches the ground but here it was overruled after the protest from the player," he said.

"The decision affected his game," he added. Jwala said despite the drift she and Diju coped it well. "There was a little drift but we served well today and so didn’t have too much problem," she said.

Asked about the Chinese pair they are playing next, Jwala said, "I have seen them. They are good. We have to be very consistent against them if we have to win tomorrow."


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