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Rediff.com  » Sports » Shuttlers Kashyap, Chetan advance to semis

Shuttlers Kashyap, Chetan advance to semis

October 11, 2010 22:36 IST

Rising shuttler P Kashyap stunned higher-ranked Malaysian Muhammad Hafiz Hasim to advance to the semi-finals of the individual badminton event of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on Monday.

Sixth seed Kashyap, playing his first Commonwealth Games, digged deep into his armoury to script a brilliant 19-21, 21-19, 21-16 victory over fourth seed Hasim.

Kashyap will next face second seed Rajiv Ouseph, whom he had beaten in the team event semi-finals a few days ago.

That semi-final will be played on Tuesday.

Chetan also breezed past Carl Baxter 21-17, 21-9 in another quarter-final match to set up a clash with World No 1 Lee Chong Wei, who beat eighth seed Chen Yza of Singapore at the Siri Fort sport complex in New Delhi.

However, fifth seed Aditi Mutatkar was not as lucky as the Indian lost 8-21, 12-21 to second seed Mew Choo Wong in another match.

Jwala Gutta and V Diju also bit the dust against Malaysian pair Koo Kien Keat and Chin Ei Hui 13-21, 19-21 in another quarter-final tie.

Jwala, who had to play four matches in a day, however had some reasons to cheer as she and her women's doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa beat Heather Olver and Marian Agathangelou 21-9, 21-14 to reach the semi-finals.

However, it was the men's singles match between Kashyap and Hasim that brought the crowd to their feet.

Locked in a battle of attrition, Kashyap showed his brilliance as he was quick on his feet and retrieved everything thrown at him. His smashes also came good as he edged past his rival in the marathon 58-minute battle.

There was not much to choose between the two as both Kashyap and Hasim played some brilliant badminton. While the nimble-footed Hasim used his height to perfection reaching out to the shuttle with utmost ease, Kashyap dived and stretched to show his prowess in the game.

In the first game, Kashyap opened up a narrow 2-4 lead and moved to 11-9 at the break but Hasim caught up with him at 12-12, before wresting the lead at 19-17 and sealing the game.

The 24-year-old Indian came back strongly in the second game and led 11-5 but Hasim again narrowed it down to 20-18 with some deft netplay, but some unforced errors put paid to his hopes as Kashyap was back in the reckoning.

In the decider, Kashyap was 11-8 at the break and although Hasim tried to claw his way back and made it 16-17, a few errors saw the Indian bursting into jubilation amid a boisterous crowd.

"This is one of the biggest wins of my career. He is an experienced player and has been in the top 20 for quite some time now. He is also very cool mentally and so to beat him here is very satisfying," Kashyap.

"I have lost a lot of matches after losing the first game and I told myself that today I am not going to lose my confidence and this win has really boosted me.

"His defence is very strong and he has a good cross court netplay and his shots are very sharper. He was playing a lot of drops and was retrieving all my smashes so I had to keep it steady and keep pushing. When I had a few points lead, his rhythm broke," he said.

Asked about his next match against Rajiv, Kashyap said, "He will be prepared for me this time. Last time we were meeting for the first time, so he didn't know my strokes. I have to be more aggressive tomorrow," he said.

Chetan too hardly broke a sweat against Baxter. The Indian opened up a narrow 5-2 lead and held his fort moving from 12-6 to 20-15 before closing it comfortably after losing two game points.

In the second game, the Indian grabbed 10 straight points to move from 3-2 to 12-2 as Baxter's game crumbled.

"I slowed down the game. I was playing my natural game. I started off well and it put pressure on him," he said.

Asked about his semifinal match against top seed Lee, Chetan said, "I have nothing to lose, I will go out and play. I have extended him last year in All England and I have to be mentally strong against him tomorrow. I hope the crowd turns the game in my favour."

Earlier in the day, top seed Saina spanked Nigerian Caroline Black 21-0, 21-2, while Aditi beat Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland 21-11, 21-17 in 24 minutes in the pre-quarterfinals.