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Aparna Popat shocks defending champion
March 23, 2006 13:01 IST
Last Updated: March 23, 2006 17:40 IST
India's top women's shuttler Aparna Popat stormed into the women's singles quarter-finals, scoring a major upset over defending champion Li Li of Singapore at the 18th Commonwealth Games in Melbourne on Thursday.
Popat, the bronze medallist at the Manchester Games, hit back at her detractors, rallying from a game down against the world number 19 to register a remarkable 10-21, 23-21, 21-17 victory at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.
The world number 56 will now face Alice Elizabeth Cann of Jersey for a place in the semi-finals.
In the men's singles, number four seed Chetan Anand and national champion Anup Sridhar comfortably sailed into the quarter-finals.
However, the winning streak of teenage prodigy Saina Nehwal came to an abrupt end, as she lost 21-14, 13-21, 6-21 to Xing Aiyang of Singapore.
The other Indian in the fray, Trupti Murgunde, also bowed out of the women's singles.
Li succumbed to Indian opposition for the second time in three days, after Saina shocked her in straight games in the mixed team event.
Li saved two match-points against Popat, but could not stop the Indian Olympian from progressing in the quadrennial mega event.
Saina, ranked 97, who hadn't conceded a game in the tournament so far, failed to capitalize on a one-game lead and went down.
Anand trounced Stephan Beeharry of Mauritius 21-14, 21-16 to move into the last eight.
Anand now takes on Wijaye Hendra of Singapore for a place in the semi-finals.
National champion Sridhar continued shine, as he upset New Zealand's top shuttler Geoffrey Bellingham 21-10, 21-10.
Sridhar, who played a vital role in India's bronze medal win in the mixed team event, has a tough challenge ahead as he meets Malaysian top seed Chong Wei Lee, the second ranked player in the world, on Friday.
In the men's doubles, Chetan Anand and V Diju lost 14-21, 8-21 to Susilo Ronaldo and Hendri Saputra of Singapore in the quarter-finals.
Saina kept herself afloat in the women's doubles, as she paired up with Trupti Murgunde to score a 7-21, 21-12, 21-18 win over Ella Tripp and Joanne Nicholas of England.
Jwala Gutta and Shruti Kurien also won their doubles match 21-8, 21-4 against the South African pair of Michelle Edwards and Kerry Harrington.
In the mixed doubles event, Jwala Gutta and V Diju lost to Susilo Ronaldo and Yanmei Jiang 21-14, 21-18 in the first round.