P. Kashyap could not have chosen a better stage to perform and be known among this own people as the next big name in Indian badminton.
Backed by a packed crowd at the Siri Fort Sports Complex crowd on Monday, Kashyap stunned the 2003 All England champion and fourth seed Mohammad Hafiz Hashim in a 58-minute thriller for a place in the semifinals against second seed Rajiv Ouseph, the man whom he upstaged in the team championship semifinals last week.
Sixth seeded Kashyap's 19-21, 21-19, 21-16 victory was followed by Chetan Anand's easy 21-17, 21-9 triumph over England's Carl Baxter on Court three, that had earlier seen the exit of second seeded mixed doubles pair of V. Diju and G. Jwala from the last-eight stage.
Jwala and Diju lost to the makeshift Malaysian pair of Koo Kien Kiet and Chin Eei Hui 13-21, 19-21 in 26 minutes. Later, Jwala and Ashwini Ponnappa entered the ladies doubles semifinals.
Late at night, Saina Nehwal won 21-7, 21-10 against Canada's Anna Rice for a place in the semifinals.
Among the Indians, the day belonged to Kashyap who continued to live up to the confidence of coach P. Gopi Chand. After scoring over Ouseph in the team semifinals and showing glimpses of his potential against Lee Chong Wei in the final, Kashyap was expected to give a good account of himself against Hashim. And he did.
After narrowly losing the first game despite leading 17-16, Kashyap believed in himself more than most others in the stands. He tossed away leads of 11-4 and 16-9 until Hashim came within a point of closing the gap. Once Hafiz made it 16-17 but Kashyap stayed ahead through the game to force the decider.
In the decider, the only time Kashyap trailed was at 7-6 after Hashim won five points on the trot. Hashim, looking relaxed and inclined to make Kashyap work for every point, did not appear too keen to finish the point in a hurry.
Hashim's ploy to tire out Kashyap did not work and the Indian won the last four points to complete a truly memorable victory.
“He has a lot of experience and is very cool on the court. So to beat a player who has been in the world top-10 gives me a lot of confidence,” said Kashyap after the match. He was quick to acknowledge the role played by the crowd and said, “The support made a huge difference. It was fantastic.”
Looking ahead to the match against Ouseph, Kashyap said, “when I played him in the team championship here, he did not know much about my play. But when we play again, he will be better prepared. I am ready for a tough match.”
Chetan will now play the top-seed Lee Chong Wei in the semifinals.