Badminton: Parupalli Kashyap reaches 2nd round of Asia Championship

Wuhan (China): India's Parupalli Kashyap made a resounding start to his campaign at the USD 200,000 Badminton Asia Championship, thrashing Singapore's Zi Liang Derek Wong in straight games to reach the second round of the continental championship in China on Tuesday.

Parupalli Kashyap

Commonwealth Games champion, Kashyap, who held a 4-2 record against his rival before the match, outplayed Wong 21-17 21-13 in a 39-minute contest at the Wuhan Sports Center Gymnasium.

The 28-year-old from Hyderabad will next take on Ya Ching Hsu of Chinese Taipei tomorrow. Kashyap has beaten Hsu twice, the last being at the India Super Series last month at the Siri Fort Complex in New Delhi.

It was heartbreak for the Commonwealth Games silver medallist Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa who failed to cross the opening hurdle, going down fighting 17-21 21-15 15-21 to Chinese Taipei pair of Yu Po Pai and Ya Ching Hsu.

After being 4-1 ahead early on, Kashyap lost his lead for a brief moment when Wong came back to draw parity at 9-9 but the Indian soon grabbed control of the game and slowly distanced himself to eventually pocket the first game.

Bolstered by the opening game win, Kashyap dished out a more dominating performance in the second game as he zoomed to a 9-1 lead. The Singaporean tried to make a comeback but Kashyap held his fort comfortably till the end.

"I was able to control the speed of the game better than him today. I was moving well and played some good attacking strokes and smashes," Kashyap told PTI. "My dribbles were also good. I'm happy to win in straight games today. It's a good start to the tournament. The conditions are slow so there will be long rallies here. I'm looking forward to tomorrow," he added.

Two-time World Championship bronze medallist P V Sindhu will be making a comeback to the court tomorrow after laying low last month due to a stress fracture on her left foot. The eighth seed from Hyderabad, who had won a bronze in the last edition, got a bye in the opening round and will take on Uzbekistan's Anait Khurshudyan in the second round.

Recently-crowned World No. 1, Saina Nehwal has got a bye and a walk over in the first two rounds and will take on Japan's Nozomi Okuhara in the third round.

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