Parupalli Kashyap came up with a brilliant performance to shock world No 7 Zhengming Wang of China in the US $250,000 India Super Series badminton tournament, in Delhi, on Wednesday.
The Indian shuttler, who played with a strapping on his shoulder after suffering a partial dislocation at the German Open, won his first round match 21-12, 17-21, 21-12 in 60 minutes.
Malaysia Grand Prix Gold finalist Sourabh Varma too reached the second round after beating Russia's Vladimir Ivanov 21-16, 17-21, 21-14.
R M V Gurusaidutt, another Indian, also progressed with a 17-21, 21-16, 21-17 win over Chinese Taipei's Tien Chen Chou in another men's singles match.
However, P V Sindhu crashed at the first hurdle, going down to Chinese second seed Wang Shixian in the women’s singles main draw.
The 19-year-old World Championship bronze medalist, who had lost to Sun Yu, another Chinese, in the first round of the All-England Open, showed sparks of brilliance to take the match into the decider, but couldn’t maintain the momentum and lost 15-21, 21-12, 10-21.
India's other women's singles players Sayali Gokhale and Trupti Murgunde reached the second round with contrasting victories, even as Saili Rane, Tanvi Lad, Shruti Mundada and P C Thulasi fell by the wayside.
There were Indian casualties in the men’s singles too, as top-ranked K Srikanth, H S Prannoy, B Sai Praneeth, Anand Pawar, Shreyansh Jaiswal and two-time national champion Anup Sridhar bit the dust.
Kashyap had lost twice to Wang, in China and Hong Kong in 2012 and 2013 respectively, and the joy of finally taming the Chinese reflected on his face.
"Just so happy to be able to beat him. I lost to him twice before and he is a kind of player who reads me well. He anticipates my strokes. Today I was anticipating his stokes better," Kashyap said, after the match.
“The good thing is that today my level never dropped. I lost the second game, but I did not lose my confidence. He is not among the fittest of Chinese players but he is good with his strokes and movement on court," added Kashyap.
"He has often caught me at the net in the last meetings. I thought his speed dropped a bit in the third game. I wanted to maintain my game and I also got some good points on the net."
The world No 24-ranked Indian said the confidence of having reached the semi-finals of the Swiss Open helped him.
"I think the confidence that I got after reaching Swiss Open quarters was the key. I just wanted some good wins under my belt after the shoulder injury. The shoulder did not bother today," he said.
Thailand Grand Prix Gold winner, K Srikanth lost 18-21, 18-21 to Takuma Ueda of Japan, Praneeth lost to seventh seed Chinese Pengyu DU 21-16, 10-21, 19-21, Pawar's gallant fight ended with a 10-21, 21-19, 6-21 defeat to fourth seed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark.
While 2013 All England champion and second seed Chen Long of China ended Prannoy's journey with a 21-15, 21-9 win, Shreyansh Jaiswal lost to Brice Leverdez of France 15-21, 24-22, 13-21 in another match.
In the women's singles, Sayali beat Tanvi 21-17, 21-10, while Trupti battled past Mudra Dhainje 24-22, 12-21, 21-18.
But Shruti could not put it across China's Xin Liu. She lost 12-21, 8-21.
Thulasi fought hard before losing 18-21, 21-17, 18-21 to Shizuka Uchida of Japan.
Saili was beaten by Japan's Minatsu Mitani 16-21, 8-21 in another women's singles match.
Image: Parupalli Kashyap
Photograph: Arko Datta/Reuters