Notwithstanding a phase of uncertainty late in the second game, P. Kashyap produced his best performance of the week to reach the final of the $120,000 Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold badminton championship here on Saturday.
Facing World No. 27 Tommy Sugiarto, second seed Kashyap came up with a series of delicate net-play, well-placed smashes and some exhilarating retrieves to prevail 21-18, 23-21 in 47 minutes.
Despite nursing a back injury suffered during the quarterfinals, Kashyap with some “smart” play came out stronger.
In his maiden Grand Prix Gold final, the World No. 20 faces Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk who played way above his 14th seeding to surprise another Indonesian, fifth seed Almsyah Yunus 21-14, 21-17.
The women’s final will provide P.V. Sindhu an opportunity to win her first title at this level. The second seeded Indian packed off third seed Sapsiree Taerattanachal 21-12, 21-14 in 39 minutes.
Kashyap was looking to improve on the 2-4 head-to-head record against Sugiarto. Last month, owing to an abdominal injury, the Indian retired in the first game against the Indonesian in their clash in the Hong Kong Open.
Kashyap opened a 5-0 lead and maintained a handy cushion until a streak of errors helped Sugiarto close the gap to one point. But a service fault by Sugiarto at 16-17 broke the Indonesian’s momentum and Kashyap seized the opportunity to force four game-points.
Amid rising tension, Kashyap took the first game when Sugiarto netted a backhand. The second game appeared to be heading Kashyap’s way when the Indian led 17-9. Thereafter, Sugiarto enjoyed his best phase of the match.
He won five points on the trot ending with an error at the net. Kashyap added another point before Sugiarto again won five successive points to make it 19-all. Kashyap forced match-point in style with a powerful forehand smash before netting a half-smash.
The Indonesian moved to game-point when Kashyap hit out. At this stage, a dramatic service-fault from Sugiarto helped Kashyap draw level. He then forced his second match-point with a delicate forehand flick and won when Sugiarto faltered at the net.
“Just when I thought I would get the last few points, he played really well. But I think, I played a smart game today. I am happy to be in a position from where I can win the title,” said Kashyap.
Sindhu produced another dominating performance. She asserted herself by leading 10-3 in the first game and 12-4 in the second. She stayed ahead of her rival, who moved up two places in the world rankings to overtake Sindhu on Thursday.
But on court, it was Sindhu who looked the better player. The Indian displayed strong defence and unleashed the finishing strokes after patiently waiting for the opening. The match peppered with long rallies saw the Indian consistently keep enough depth on her returns.
Even at the net, Sindhu had more control. Fanetri, seeded seven, pulled off a 22-20, 21-16 victory over sixth seeded Japanese Nozomi Okuhara to repeat the result of their clash in this year’s Indonesia Open.
The results (semifinals, Indians unless stated):
Men: Singles: Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (Tha) bt Alamsyah Yunus (Ina) 21-14, 21-17; P. Kashyap bt Tommy Sugiarto (Ina) 21-18, 23-21.
Women: Singles: Lindaweni Fanetri (Ina) bt Nozomi Okuhara (Jpn) 22-20, 21-16; P. V. Sindhu bt Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) 21-12, 21-14.