Parupalli Kashyap showed nerves of steel to shock world No 10 Jan Jorgensen of Denmark in an edge-of-the-seat men's singles match to advance to the second round at the Hong Kong Super Series on Wednesday.
The Indian ace, who reached the quarter-finals at the London Olympics, prevailed 24-22, 20-22, 22-20 in 68 minutes, at the Hong Kong Coliseum in Kowloon.
Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal also started her women's singles campaign well, beating Aprilla Yuswandari of Indonesia in straight games.
The world No 3 took time to get into the groove, but went from strength to strength as the match progressed to win 22-20, 21-8.
Ajay Jayaram also reached the second round after seeing off Zhengming Wang of China 22-20, 23-21 in another men's singles match.
Kashyap showed tremendous resilience and a never-say-die attitude and matched Jorgensen with his repertoire of strokes.
Trailing 0-3, he turned tables on Jorgensen and moved into the break at 11-8. The Dane, however, leveled at 13-13, but won the crucial points to take the game narrowly.
In the second game, Jorgensen and Kashyap traded points from the start, but it was the Dane who enjoyed the lead most of the time and eventually succeeded to staving off the India's challenge to bounce back into the contest.
The decider turned out to be a cliff-hanger as Kashyap showed nerves of steel. Despite facing a 2-5 deficit early on, he battled his way to a 11-10 lead at the break.
After the breather, he gradually widened the gap and moved to 19-15.
Jorgensen clawed his way back to 20-20, but it was the 26-year-old Indian who had the last laugh.
In other matches, Pranaav Chopra and Siki Reddy also reached the second round with a 21-19, 21-15 victory over Phillip Chew and Jamie Subandhi of the United States in the mixed doubles.
Akshay Dewalkar and Pradnya Gadre lost to sixth seed Fran Kurniawan and Shendy Puspa Irawati 18-21, 21-23 in the mixed doubles, while the men's doubles pair of Tarun Kona and Arun Vishnu bowed out after an 18-21, 14-21 loss to Chris Adcock and Andrew Ellis.
Tarun and Ashwini Ponnappa lost their opening mixed doubles match to the top seeded Chinese pair of Chen Xu and Jin Ma 21-15, 21-16.
Returing to action after skipping the China Open, Saina was equally good with her smashes and net play, registering as many as 15 smash winners and equal number of net winners in the 33-minute contest.
After gaining a narrow 3-1 lead early on, she lost the lead briefly when Aprilla went 8-6 ahead. However, the Indian restored it, moving to 14-10, before the Indonesian drew abreast 20-20. But Saina closed the opening game with two consecutive points.
In the second game, the third seeded Indian trailed 1-4, but came back in style, registering eight straight points to move to 9-4. She then reeled off another 10 points and was 19-6 ahead in a jiffy before sealing the issue with much to spare.
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