Riding the crest of confidence, qualifier Sourabh Verma gatecrashed into the quarterfinals of the inaugural $200,000 India Open Super Series badminton championship by knocking out seventh-seeded Japanese Kenichi Tago 21-19, 18-21, 21-11 at the Siri Fort Stadium here on Thursday.
Unseeded Gurusai Dutt doubled the joy of the handful of spectators by joining Verma in the last-eight stage. Dutt packed off Tan Yuhan 21-13, 14-21, 21-13 of Belgium for his second victory.
For a place in the semifinal, Sourabh runs into World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia and Gurusai faces the eighth seed Hong Kong's Yun Hu.
However, all the other Indians on view, including Commonwealth Games women doubles gold medallists and eighth seeds G. Jwala and Ashwini Ponnappa, lost.
P. Kashyap, the young National runner-up, ran into second seed Taufik Hidayat and surrendered in straight games.
If the Indian interest is still alive in the premier competition, it is mainly due to the delightfully unexpected performances from the two young trainees of the Gopi Chand Academy.
Nineteen-year-old Sourabh showed his aggressive intent from the start. In a match where both players went for their strokes, Sourabh's better control gave him the first game before Kenichi returned the favour in the second.
In the decider, where the players were showing signs of being low on energy, Sourabh's planned aggression played the decisive role.
Gurusai, too, made the difference in the decider by opening up a 10-1 lead against Tan Yuhan. Gurusai conceded being rusty to start with and played his game, once settled.
Malaysia's Chin Eei Hui and Wong Pei Tty, former World number one women's pair, reproduced some of their old magic to beat Jwala and Ashwini 22-20, 21-18. Jwala admitted to missing the chances to seize the advantage and promised to be better-prepared for the season ahead.
In the women's singles, second-seeded Tine Rasmussen-Baun saw her comeback plans derailed when she lost to Singapore's Jiayuan Chen 21-13, 21-11. Tine premature exit, coupled with Saina Nehwal's ouster on Wednesday, leaves the women's singles without the two top seeds.
The results (pre-quarterfinals, prefix denotes seeding, Indians unless stated): Men: Singles: 1-Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt Lee Hyun Il 21-13, 21-17; Sourabh Verma bt 7-Kenichi Tago (Jpn) 21-19, 18-21, 21-11; Gurusai Dutt bt Tan Yuhan (Bel) 21-13, 14-21, 21-13; 8-Yun Hu (Hkg) bt Yan Kit Chan (Hkg) 21-16, 21-14; Ueda Takuma (Jpn) bt Wing Ki Wong (Hkg) 21-19, 18-21, 21-16; 3-Peter Gade (Den) bt Sho Sasaki (Jpn) 21-12, 21-17; 6-Sung Hwan Park (Kor) bt Wang Ho Shon (Kor) 21-12, 21-17; Taufik Hidayat (Ina) bt P. Kashyap 21-17, 21-19.
Women: Singles: Juan Gu (Sin) bt Ai Goto (Jpn) 17-21, 21-18, 25-23; Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (Tha) bt 5-Eriko Hirose (Jpn) 21-9, 15-21, 22-20; 4-Pui Yin Yip (Hkg) bt Kaori Imabeppu (Jpn) 21-16, 21-19; Inthanon Ratchanok (Tha) bt Ji Hyun Song (Kor) 21-14, 22-24, 21-12; Jie Yao (Ned) bt Aprilla Yuswandari (Ina) 21-10, 19-21, 21-10; 3-Youn Joo Bae (Kor) bt Fanetri Linaweni (Ina) 21-15, 21-10; Sato Sayaka (Jpn) bt 8-Salakjit Ponsana (Tha) 22-20, 21-12; Jiayuan Chen (Sin) bt 2-Tine Baun (Den) 21-13, 21-11.
Men: Doubles: 1-Koo Kien Keat & Tan Boon Heong (Mas) bt Manu Attri & Jishnu Sanyal 21-9, 21-12; Yohanes Rendy Sugiarto & Afiat Yuris Wirawan (Ina) bt 8-Rupesh Kumar & Sanave Thomas 21-19, 21-12.
Women: Doubles: 1-Miyuki Maeda & Satoko Suetsuna (Jpn) bt Pradnya Gadre & P. Jyotsna 21-8, 21-16; Chin Eei Hui and Wong Pei Tty (Mas) bt 8-G. Jwala & Ashwini Ponnappa 22-20, 21-18.
Mixed doubles: 7-Muhammad Rijal & Debby Susanto (Ina) bt Pranav Chopra & Prajakta Sawant 21-11, 19-21, 21-13; 5-Peng Soon Chan & Liu Ying Goh (Mas) bt Akshay Dewalkar & Pradnya Gadre 21-18, 22-24, 21-12.