At the change over after the first game, Taufik Hidayat stood at the middle of the court waiting for his opponent Aravind Bhat to finish his consultation with coach Pullela Gopichand. The Indian needed another minute to resume the tie but that additional time just delayed the inevitable.
One would have thought that Gopichand’s experience of playing against the temperamental Indonesian could come in handy for the national champion but that proved to be a false hope. The second seed registered a 21-14, 21-11 victory to sail into the quarterfinals of the $120,000 India Open badminton tournament here on Thursday.
All the other Indian men’s singles players also joined Bhat on the sidelines after Anand Pawar put up a gallant fight against Chen Long before going down 21-12, 21-12 and 13th seed Anup Sridhar threw away a big advantage to lose 9-21, 21-19, 21-18 against Chun Tan of Malaysia in 49 minutes.
With the exception of second seed Saina Nehwal, the women’s singles challengers also suffered the same fate. Whil Sampada Sahastrabuddhe, Ashwini Ponappa and P Thulasi were shown the door, Saina raced to a 21-8, 21-8 win over Hung Chan of Hong Kong to set up a quarterfinal date with Malaysia’s Julia Pei Wong.
While Saina’s win was on expected lines the manner in which Hidayat dominated Bhat was unexpected. Bhat went into his first match with the former world and Olympic champion high on confidence after two good wins on the opening day while Hidayat looked out of sorts in his second round encounter against Hong Kong’s Yun Hu.
But on Thursday, it was vintage Hidayat as he mesmerized his opponent with his trademark drops and forehand drives that Bhat could hardly read.