Rising Indian shuttler P V Sindhu continued her giant-killing run in the Li Ning China Masters Super Series, shocking London Olympics gold medallist Li Xuerui of China, to storm into the women's singles semi-finals on Friday.
The world No 24, the lone Indian woman in the fray in the absence of star compatriot Saina Nehwal [ Images ], beat the second seed 21-19, 9-21, 21-16 in a tense contest that lasted 45 minutes.
Badminton Association of India [ Images ] (BAI) president Akhilesh Das Gupta congratulated Sindhu on her achievement.
"This is a big thing for Indian badminton. This will definitely inspire a lot of youngsters to take up the sport in the country," said Das Gupta.
Meanwhile, Ajay Jayaram came from a game behind to beat compatriot Sourabh Varma 12-21, 21-14, 21-16 in a quarter-final battle that lasted 49 minutes.
In the semi-finals, Ajay will take on the winner of the match between Bin Qiao of China and Hong Kong's Yun Hu.
RMV Gurusaidutt, however, crashed out of the tournament, going down to the top seed Long Chen of China 8-21, 12-21 in another quarter-finals of the men's singles.
In what is the biggest victory in her fledgling career, Sindhu turned out to be the more aggressive, scoring as many as 26 smash winners compared to 20 by the world No 3-ranked Chinese.
The net game was a close affair, though, the Indian scoring nine points against the Xuerui's eight.
Sindhu came into the match high on confidence, having got the better of world No 14 and eighth seed Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand in the pre-quarter-finals.
The 17-year-old Indian will now take on the winner of the match between Busanan Ongbumrungpan of Thailand and fourth seed Yanjiao Jiang of China next.
The young Indian straightaway opened a 3-0 lead and then increased it to 6-1 in the opening game before the Chinese reduced the gap to 6-7. Sindhu maintained the lead, but Xuerui drew on all her experience to reduce it to 18-19.
It looked like Sindhu would wither under intense pressure, but she admirably held her nerves to take the first game 21-19.
Xuerui, however, came back strongly and dictated terms in the second game.
The Chinese was 8-0 up in no time and then extended the lead to 14-1 before making it 20-5.
Sindhu covered a bit of lost ground by winning four straight points but it was too little and too late as Xuerui took the second game 21-9.
Despite being outplayed in the second game, Sindhu showed that she can compete at the highest level by winning the decider and wrapping up the match.
She led the Chinese 14-7 and 19-13 before Xuerui made a last-ditch effort and reduced the gap to 16-19. However, the Indian took two more points to script a famous victory.
Photograph: Olympic Gold Quest