HYDERABAD: Chetan Anand of India elevated his game to a new high. And, he could not have timed it better, coming up with a vintage display under crisis to knock out third-seeded Chen Yu of China 21-16, 22-20 in the 33-minute quarterfinal of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open Grand Prix badminton championship at Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here on Friday.
Chetan remains the lone Indian in the fray now.
It was a remarkable display of change of strategy midway through in both the games that saw Chetan stun his fancied opponent. Trailing 3-7 in the first game, there was a sudden shift in the game plan by the 27-year-old Indian, which caught Yu off-guard. Hitting flat, he denied the World No. 10 the liberty to go for his powerful smashes. So disoriented was the Chinese with this approach that he even failed to judge the high returns from Chetan at crucial points in the closing stages of the first game.
In the second game, with Yu, the 2007 All-England championship finalist, gained a 7-3 lead. Later, three unforced errors from the Indian helped Yu to take a 15-11 lead. This was the phase when the Indian decided to attack the net. By pushing Yu to the baseline, Chetan had plenty of space to pick the gaps and he came up with some stunning forehand smashes.
Apparently, what compounded to Yu’s misery was Chetan’s mastery at the net.
Play of the day
The Indian, ranked World No. 71, seemed to have reserved his best stroke of the match to finish the longest rally of the match, at 19-all. A splendid cross-court forehand smash left the Chinese bewildered. But, typically, Chetan missed a simple point at the net to see the scores level again 20-all.
At matchpoint, Yu went for a drop and found the net, triggering off celebrations in the crowd.
“I got my movement at the right time. Initially, I had trouble picking up his speed and angular smashes. But, once I was able to control the shuttle, he was losing patience. I think I played one of my best matches in recent memory,” Chetan said of his first-ever win over a Chinese top 10 player. “Definitely, with this win I’ve proved a point or two to my critics,” he said.
Late in the evening, Andrew Smith of England staged a remarkable fight back to down a fighting Anand Pawar (India) with a 21-18, 21-19 win to enter the men’s semifinals.
It was Pawar who led by an identical margin of 7-2 in both the games but frittered away the initiative with too many unforced errors. It was strange that after Smith, who seemed to have lost his way after an argument with the chair umpire over a line call when the scoreline read 14-18, it was the Indian who lost the rhythm and conceded seven points and the match to the opponent.
“In a way, that argument charged me up,” acknowledged Smith. But, as Prakash Padukone — who was among the spectators — said, Pawar had played into his rival’s unorthodox game instead of going for the rallies to keep him away from the net.
The results: Quarterfinals: Men’s singles: Chetan Anand (Ind) bt ChenYu (Chn) 21-16, 22-20; Andrew Smith (Eng) bt Anand Pawar (Ind) 21-18, 21-19; Ponsana Boonsak (Tha) bt Liao Sheng Shiun (Tpe) 20-22, 21-14, 21-14; Sasaki Sho (Jpn) bt Lu Yi (Chn) 21-17, 13-21, 21-14.
Men’s doubles: Wijaya Candra (Ina) & Tony Gunawan (USA) bt Wijaya Hendra & Yoga Uki Kasah (Sin) 21-8, 21-9; Jung Jae Sung & Lee Yong Dae (Kor) bt Njoto Ablertus Susanto & Wiratama Yohan Hadikusumo (Hkg) 21-9, 21-15; Guo Zhendong & Xie Zhongbo (Chn) bt Sukmawan Rian & Dasuki Suryatama Yonatan (Ina) 21-14, 21-16; Chew Choon Eng & Chan Chong Ming (Mas) bt Ghtsuka Tadashi & Masuda Keita (Jpn) 21-17, 21-17.
Women’s singles: Eriko Hirose (Jpn) bt Pai Min Jie (Tpe) 21-12, 21-17; Zhu Lin (Chn) bt Prutsch Simone (Aut) 21-8, 21-11; Zhou Mi (Hkg) bt Wong Julia Pei Xian (Mas) 21-12, 21-15; Lu Lan (Chn) bt Yip Pui Yin (Hkg) 21-17, 21-23, 21-19.
Mixed doubles: He Hanbin & Yu Fang (Chn) bt Rijal Muthammad & Poli Greysia (Ina) 21-13, 21-7; Mateusiak Robert & Kostiuczyk Nadiezda (Pol) bt Saptura Hendra Kurniwan & Li Yujia (Sin) 21-14, 22-20; Hopp Kristof & Overzier Birgit (Ger) bt Njoto Albbertus Susanto & Koon Wai Chee (Hkg) 17-21, 22-20, 21-18; Fang Chieh Min & Cheng Wen Hsing (Tpe) bt Prapakamol Sudket & Saralee Thounghongkam (Tha) 23-21, 23-21.