Singapore: Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap advanced to the quarterfinals of Singapore Open but it was H S Prannoy, who hogged the limelight yesterday with his straight-game demolition of world no. 2 Jan O Jorgensen in the men's singles competition here.
Kashyap, who had reached a career-best world no. 6 in 2013, staved off the challenge of fourth seed Son Wan Ho of Korea 21-15 22-20, before Prannoy scripted another giant-killing act of sending Denmark's Jorgensen out of the tournament for the second time on a trot.
World No. 14 Prannoy, who had defeated Jorgensen at the India Super Series in New Delhi last month, notched up a 21-16 21-8 win over the second seed to reach the quarters. The Indian had beaten the Dane at the Japan Open in 2013 as well. Kashyap, who today rose two places to world no. 15, will next take on France's Brice Leverdez, who saw off another Dane Hans-Kristian Vittinghun 21-13 19-21 21-18 during his prequarterfinal match.
Prannoy, on the other hand, will clash with world no. 10 Kento Momota of Japan tonight. However, it was a bad day in office for World No. 4 Indian Kidambi Srikanth, who suffered a 15-21 20-22 loss to Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand in another match. Delhi Commonwealth Games champion pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, too, could not get past third seeds Wang Xiaoli and Yu Yang (F) of China, going down fighting 22-24 18-21 in a women's doubles match.
With a strong backhand and an attacking game, Prannoy has always troubled Jorgensen. The Indian had beaten him twice before today's meeting and the confidence was reflected in the way he gave a tough fight to the Dane. With the Delhi match still fresh in their minds, Prannoy and Jorgensen started on a highly competitive note as none gave an inch to the other and moved neck and neck before the Dane grabbed a slender 11-9 lead at the break.
Prannoy caught up immediately with two straight points and what ensued next was a tooth and nail battle before the Indian opened up a 17-16 lead and grabbed the first game with a four-point burst. Brimming with confidence, Prannoy just sailed through in the second game. He surged ahead to a healthy 6-0 lead and kept moving in giant steps as Jorgensen's game crumbled.
"It is an Olympic year and we really have to be on top of our game, we can't be sluggish on court, so such wins really help. When you beat a top player, you feel you can beat them, and you can win a tournament," Prannoy had said after his win against Jorgensen last month. Prannoy will have to play out of his skin against Momota,
who has beaten him twice -- at Denmark Open in 2013 and French Open last year.
Kashyap has a 1-1 head-to-head record against Brice, whom the Indian had beaten long back at the Spanish Open in 2009 but he suffered a narrow loss to the Frenchman the last time they faced off at the Malaysia Grand Prix Gold in 2011.
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