Nikhil Kanetkar and Abhinn Shyam Gupta registered hard-fought victories to advance to the second round in the Asian Badminton Championships, being played at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The left-handed Kanetkar rallied brilliantly to upset World No 25 Hidetaka Yamada of Japan 1-15, 15-5, 15-11 while Gupta had to overcome brief resistance to beat Thailand's T Laohathaimongkok 15-0, 5-15, 15-7 in first round matches on Wednesday night.
Kanetkar will now take on Taufiq Hidayat of Indonesia while Gupta faces Muhammad Hafiz Hashim of Malaysia.
With the championship providing Gupta and Kanetkar, ranked 49th and 59th in the world currently, a last chance to make the grade for the forthcoming Athens Olympics, the duo
Will be hoping to come up with their best performance of the year and qualify for the mega event.
The final list of qualifiers for the Olympics will be declared on May 1.
But it was not a happy outing for other Indian men shuttlers in the fray, with national champion Chetan Anand, J B S Vidyadhar and Utsav Mishra bowing out in the opening round itself.
The 63rd ranked Anand, who was supposed to have a cakewalk against 106th-ranked Anupap Thirara of Thailand, was troubled by an injury and despite winning the first game 15-11 had to concede the tie the second game after trailing 4-11.
In other matches, Mishra was outplayed by Park Sung-Hwan of South Korea, 4-15, 3-15, while Vidhyadhar went down to Chen Yu of China 8-15, 6-15.