India's Sanave Thomas and Rupesh Kumar registered an upset 26-24, 21-17 victory over seventh seeded Albertus Susanto and Yohan Hadikusumo Wiratama of Hong Kong to sail into the quarter-finals of the badminton doubles at the 15th Asian Games in Doha on Thursday.
However, the Indian challenge in both men and women singles events with Saina Nehwal being knocked out in the pre-quarterfinals.
Indian medal prospect Saina lost to fifth seeded Eriko Hirose of Japan 23-25, 7-21 late last night. Saina, ranked 27 in the world, frittered away an early lead to lose the first game in duece and then lost her way to surrender the second game to world number 14 Hirose in a 34-minute duel.
National champion Anup Sridhar fought grimly against sixth seeded Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand but lost 17-21, 21-19, 16-21 in a 53-minute thrilling battle.
But the biggest disappointment was the pre-quarterfinal loss of Chetan Anand to Lee Hyun of South Korea. The highest ranking Indian caved in without a fight to lose 6-21, 9-21 in just 18 minutes.
Sanave and Rupesh matched their more fancied rivals stroke for stroke in the first game and raced to a 20-17 lead. But the Hong Kong pair stormed back to level the score 20-20. The Indians then saved three game points to take the first game in 16 minutes.
In the second game also, the Indians dominated their rivals and dictated terms from a position of strenghth by reaching 20-15.
Though the Hong Kong pair won three consecutive points and threatened to level the score once again, the Indians stopped them in time to win the game 21-17 in 10 minutes and wrapped up the match.
Sanave-Rupesh now take on third seeded Indonesian pair of Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan for a place in the semi-finals.
However, another Indian doubles duo of V Diju and JBS Vidyadhar went down tamely to second seeded Korean pair of Jae Sung Jung and Yong Dae Lee in straight sets.
The Indians trailed their rivals right from the beginning and lost 16-21, 14-21 in 20 minutes.