Unheralded Indonesian Alamsyah Yunus accepted the unexpected offerings to knock out top seed Chetan Anand of India 16-21, 21-12, 21-13, to enter the final of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open Grand Prix badminton tournament in Chennai on Saturday.
The crafty 23-year old Yunus slowed down the pace to unsettle the 19th ranked Anand, who increasingly grew despondent to virtually gift the match that lasted 51 tedious minutes but enlivened by a noisy crowd that rooted for the Indian.
In Sunday’s final, Yunus takes on seventh seed Guru Sai Dutt, who put out third seeded compatriot Parupalli Kashyap 21-6, 17-21, 21-15, in a close clash.
Later, top seed and World No.6 Saina Nehwal outclassed Indonesia’s Aprilia Yuswandari 21-17, 21-11 in the women’s singles semi-finals and set up a title clash with second seed Mew Choo Wong of Malaysia who got past Linda Weni Fanetri of Indonesia 22-20, 21-17.
Yunus, ranked 125, said: "I feel happy and I played well." He preferred to communicate in gestures that seemed faster than his game that was constructed around long rallies and retrievals.
Anand admitted that he was far too anxious to close the match after winning the first game and committed numerous unforced errors in the second and third during which Yunus opened up sizeable leads and sat on them.
"I was moving well in the first game and controlled the net. In the second, he kept me in the backcourt and as I slowed down, he drew me to the net where I was catching the shuttle far too low. He was also retrieving extremely well and besides, he has a very good overhead stroke," reflected Anand.
Coming out of a two-month break owing to injury and hence lack of match fitness, Anand pointed out that it was another factor that contributed to his downfall today.
"At my best, I would have won the match fairly comfortably. I think, it will take me another couple of tournaments for my fitness to improve," he added.
The stop-start match did little to help Anand to get into any sort of rhythm. "That’s the way he plays and there is not much you can do," he said, but clarified that he was not distracted by the confusion over the dress code when the chair umpire first disallowed any change in colour of the fresh top that Anand wanted to wear at the start of the third game, but subsequently relented.
"I was not aware of the rule that you have to wear the same colour shirt throughout the match. I wanted to change my top (black with sleeves) but it was of different colour (blue and sleeveless). But that was not an issue at all," Anand said.
The results (all semi-finals, prefix denotes seeding):
Men’s singles: Alamsyah Yunus (INA) bt 1-Chetan Anand (IND) 16-21, 21-12, 21-13; 7-RMV Gurusaidutt (IND) bt 3-Kashyap Parupalli (IND) 21-6, 17-21, 21-15.
Women’s singles: 2-Mew Choo Wong (MAS) bt Linda Weni Fanetri (INA) 22-20, 21-17; 1-Saina Nehwal (IND) bt Aprilia Yuswandari (INA) 21-17, 21-11.
Men’s doubles: 1-Mohd Fairuzizuan/Mohd Zarky (MAS) bt Chayut Triyachart/Danny Bawa Chrisnanta (SIN) 21-8, 21-17; 2-Rupesh Kumar/Sanave Thomas (IND) bt Afiat Yuis Wirawan/Rendy Sugiarto (INA) 21-9, 18-21, 24-22.
Women’s doubles: 1-Lei Yao/Shinta Mulia Sari (SIN) bt Della Destiara Haris/Suci Rizki Andini (INA) 21-16, 21-17; 2-Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa (IND) bt Keshya Nurvita Hanadia/Komala Dewi (INA) 21-12, 21-18.
Mixed doubles: 1-Diju Vilayanti/Jwala Gutta (IND) bt 4-Muhammad Rijal/Debby Susanto 21-7, 21-10; Chayut Triyachart/Lei Yao (SIN) bt Ricky Widanto/Jenna Gozalli (INA) 17-21, 21-16, 21-13.