Saina Nehwal and P Kashyap, the only Indians left in the fray, on Friday pulled off stunning victories in the Indonesia Open Super Series Premier to book their place in the semifinals.
While Saina edged out China's world No. 4 Shixian Wang 21-17, 21-23, 21-19, Kashyap sent Denmark's Hans-Kristian Vittinghus packing in straight games.
The world No. 5 Indian gave a fitting reply to Wang's fast-paced game and consistently won points through long rallies. She looked poised to win the match when she was leading 21-17, 20-17, but Shixian fought back with some powerful smashes and well-placed shots.
She saved three match points, won the second game and forced the match into the decider, where again in the dying moments she gave Saina tough competition.
The 22-year-old Hyderabadi again encountered some anxious moments when the scores were tied at 19-19, but when on match point, a drop shot by Shixian landed outside the line near the net, and a relieved Saina lay prostrate on the court.
Relief, happiness and tears of joy followed next.
Saina faces Korea's Sung Ji Hyun in the semifinal in her quest for a third title in Jakarta.
"Probably she had a couple of chances to wrap up the match in the second when she was leading but Shixian fought back. The shuttles were also very quick today. It is good win against a top four player," national coach Gopi Chand said.
Asked about the next match, the coach said: "Saina has played the Korean and has beaten her. I don't know about her record now. Hopefully it will be a good match tomorrow."
Another big win
Earlier, world No. 26 Kashyap, who had stunned top seed Chen Long of China on Thursday, came up with another stellar performance as he outclassed Vittinghus 21-15, 21-14. The 25-year-old now meets local hope Simon Santoso
Gopi Chand said Kashyap's performance reaffirmed that he was capable of beating top players.
"Today, Kashyap was confident with his strokes. With the Chinese, you have to attack all the time but with Vittinghus he could also defend. He made good use of the court and the win yesterday has certainly given him a big boost," he said.