The temperamental Taufik Hidayat tossed it away as only he is known to. One of those mood swings got the better of the former Olympic champion on Thursday and he exited from the Asian badminton championship at the Siri Fort Sports Complex on Thursday.
Champion in 2000, 2004 and 2007, Hidayat's apparent disinterest gave Chinese Taipei's Hsueh Yi Hsueh the biggest triumph of his career. The 24-year-old avenged the loss suffered in the US Open final last July with a 22-20, 21-16 triumph in 39 minutes to book a place in the quarterfinals.
“It's a game. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, whatever you people think,” said the top seed who lost the last three points to let slip the first game and never led thereafter.
The 24-year-old winner, said with the help of an interpreter, that he would like to “thank god” for the victory. “I just played my game and was not overawed by my opponent's reputation.”
On a day when Aditi Mutatkar set up a quarterfinal clash against Chinese qualifier Xin Liu after beating Hsiao Huan Chen (Tpe) 23-21, 21-11, Saina Nehwal made the grade by settling a score against Malaysia's Julia Pei Xian Wong 21-14, 21-16.
P. Kashyap — the lone Indian survivor in the men's draw — surrendered to seventh seeded Yun Hu 21-16, 18-21, 21-13 in the pre-quarterfinals.
Kashyap was the first Indian to talk of the “drift” from one side of the court and take an erroneous call in his stride. Later, Saina faced a similar situation on her way to exact a revenge for the loss to Julia in the 2009 Indian Open at Hyderabad.
“I think the drift has made one side of the court faster and it is going to trouble a lot of players,” she said when asked to explain how she squandered away a 7-1 lead for an 8-all score in the second game. “Once I realized my tosses were going out, I tried to keep my returns close to the net.
“That seemed to have worked. But when one side of the court is faster than the other, you may lose points as quickly as you win them,” she said.
About a disputed call that went in favour of Julia at 13-13 in the second game, Saina said, “I understand even the chair-umpire was not so sure. I've been playing for nearly 10 years now and I am not expected to let these things bother me. It's okay.”
Like Saina, the top seeded mixed doubles pair of V. Diju and G. Jwala also took their allotted place in the quarterfinals. The 24-22, 21-15 triumph over the Chinese Taipei's duo of Sheng Mu Lee and Yu Chin Chien in 28 minutes came after the Indians blew away a 19-13 lead in the first game.
The results (Indians, unless stated): Men's singles (pre-quarterfinals): Hsueh Yi Hsueh (Tpe) bt Taufik Hidayat (Ina) 22-20, 21-16; Kenchi Tago (Jpn) bt Yan Kit Chan (Hkg) 21-15-21-19; Zhengming Wang (Chn) bt Chong Chieh Lok (Mas) 21-13, 21-18; Shoji Sato (Jpn) bt Ji Hoon Hong (Kor) 21-14, 21-18; Boonsak Ponsana (Tha) bt Andre Kurniawan Tedjonon (Ina) 21-18, 21-17; Muhammad Hafiz Hashim (Mas) bt Tien Minh Nguyen (Vie) 21-19, 14-21, 21-15; Yun Hu (Hkg) 21-16, 18-21, 21-13; Dan Lin (Chn) bt Tien Chen Chou (Tpe) 21-8, 21-17.
Women's singles (pre-quarterfinals): Saina Nehwal bt Julia Pei Xian Wong (Mas) 21-14, 21-16; Mew Choo Wong (Mas) bt Beiwen Zhang (Mas) 20-22, 21-9, 21-14; Xuerui Li (Chn) bt Pui Yin Yip (Hkg) 21-13, 21-8; Ayane Kurihara bt Fransisca Ratnasari (Ina) 17-21, 21-16, 21-14; Xin Liu (Chn) bt Sayaka Sato (Jpn) 19-21, 21-7, 21-11; Aditi Mutatkar bt Hsiao Huan Chen (Tpe) 23-21, 21-11; Salakjit Ponsana (Tha) bt Aiying Xing (Sin) 21-10, 17-21, 21-19.
Men's doubles (involving Indians) (second round): Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas bt Patipat Chalardchaleam and Thitipong Lapoe (Tha) 21-14, 21-15; (first round): Rupesh and Sanave bt Rais Mohd Uddin and Jabed Mostofa (Ban) 21-10, 21-2; Hirokatsu Hashimoto and Noryasu Hirata (Jpn) bt Akshay Diwalkar and Arun Vishnu 21-18, 21-15.
Women's doubles (involving Indians) (second round): Pan Pan and Qing Tian (Chn) bt Aparna Balan and Shruti Kurien 21-10, 21-12; (first round): Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii (Ina) bt G. Jwala and Ashwini Ponappa 18-21, 21-15, 21-17; Aparna and Shruti bt Aiying Xing and Beiwen Zhang (Sin) 21-14, 21-9.
Mixed doubles (involving Indians) (second round): V. Diju and G. Jwala bt Sheng Mu Lee and Yu Chin Chien (Tpe) 24-22, 21-15.