P. Kashyap had his moments against Lee Chong Wei, and Saina Nehwal said she felt she was improving with every match after Wang Yihan outplayed her yet again. The two leading Indians were holding on to the positives after their straight-game quarterfinal losses in the $250,000 Yonex Sunrise India Open badminton championship on Saturday.
But the truth was that both Lee Chong Wei and Yihan covered the distance without being required to move to a higher gear.
Even as the Indian challenge came to an end, the Chinese girls — led by World No.1 and Olympic champion Li Xuerui — took all of the semifinal spots.
Among the men, Lee Chong Wei, seventh seed Du Pengyu and second seed Chen Long from China, and Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen made the last four.
While Saina looked far from challenging the former World No.1, Kashyap, who has not taken a game off Lee Chong Wei in four meetings so far, enthralled the crowd by winning a few long rallies and getting in a few jump-smashes.
He even made it 14-15 in the opening game. This was the closest the home favourite got to the Malaysian. Thereafter, the gap opened up and Lee Chong Wei’s class was plain for everyone to see.
He had more time to choose his strokes, and won points almost at will.
But Kashyap had the satisfaction of winning the point after the rally of the match.
From 15-14 in the first game, the World No.1 broke away to win six out of the last seven points. In the second, Kashyap was not allowed much liberty.Getting the smashes in
“I think this is the best I’ve played against him. I knew he was going to be quick. I was able to defend a few of his smashes and was able to get a few myself,” said Kashyap.
After her defeat at the hands of Wang Yihan, Saina said one has to be fitter and play better at the net to beat the top Chinese.
“I was trying for perfection instead of pushing her into rallies. Perhaps, I should be more relaxed in the future, stay more alert and learn more net play. I need more time to catch up (on fitness) with them,” said Saina.
Yihan’s fluid on-court movement, economy of effort in executing the strokes and supreme confidence against Saina, who she has beaten seven times in eight encounters, was evident.
Saina did manage to stay close till 9-11 in the first game but could not close the gap any further.
The results: Quarterfinals:
Men: 1-Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt P. Kashyap 21-15, 21-13; 7-Du Pengyu (Chn) bt Viktor Axelsen (Den) 21-11, 22-24, 21-19; 4-Jan O Jorgensen (Den) bt Ueda Takuma (Jpn) 21-11, 21-13; 2-Chen Long (Chn) bt Vittinghus Hans-Kristian (Den) 21-17, 21-15.
Women: 1-Li Xuerui (Chn) bt Yeon Ju Bae (Kor) 21-7, 21-15; Liu Xin (Chn) bt Aprilla Yuswandari (Ina) 21-15, 21-8; 3-Wang Yihan (Chn) bt 8-Saina Nehwal 21-16, 21-14; 2-Wang Shixian (Chn) bt 6-Ji Hyun Sung 21-13, 17-21, 21-17.