THE COACH knows best. Undoubtedly, this holds good for shuttler Siddharta Jain. The lanky player was written off following a knee injury in 1998 before he made a comeback by winning the French Open in 2000.
There was again a long sabbatical and all that one got to read about him was his coaching assignment during the All England Championship and the Swiss Open last year. But the former junior national champion defied age to beat top shuttlers in the ongoing Inter-Petroleum tournament.
Jain caused the biggest upset of the meet by beating Bharat Petroleum's Arvind Bhat 22-20, 16-21, 22-20 in the men's singles pre-quarterfinals. Indian Oil's JBS Vidyadhar was the ONGC shuttler's next victim and the higher ranked player succumbed 21-14, 13-21, 21-17 in the quarterfinals.
Jain will clash with ONGC's Chetan Anand in the semifinal on Thursday while Indian Oil's P. Kashyap will play GAIL's Ravinder Singh in the other last four encounter. Bharat Petroleum's Jwala Gutta and Shruti Kurien won the women's doubles title by beating Indian Oil's B.R Meenakshi and Aparna Balan 21-15, 21-13.
Mixed draw for Indians
The country's top shuttlers received a favourable draw in the $ 120,000 India Open Grand Prix as they avoided the top 10 seeds in the first round. Anup Sridhar, ranked 29th in the world, will take on Englishman Andrew Smith, ranked 32, in the opening round of the April 1-6 event in Hyderabad. Anand Pawar takes on Peru's Andres Corpancho, whom the Indian had beaten in his title run at the Portuguese Championship. World No. 31 Saina Nehwal would be up against higher-ranked Japanese Yu Hirayama.