Saina Nehwal, P Kashyap in French Open quarters
Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap continued his giant-killing spree, stunning World No 9 Tian Houwei 21-19, 21-18 in the pre-quarters of the French Open Super Series while Saina Nehwal also advanced to the quarterfinals at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin at Paris.
Kashyap, Commonwealth Games champion, got off to a good start, taking a 5-1 lead before Houwei fought back to equalise at 7-7. However, Kashyap snatched three consecutive points to rattle the Chinese on Thursday night.
The World No 21 Indian continued the momentum to pile further pressure on Tian and surged to a 15-8. But Tian had his moment of brilliance to take four straight points and reduced the deficit at 17-14. He later managed to equalise at 19-19 before Kashyap stepped up to seal the first game 21-19.
In the second game, Kashayap didn't waste time to race to a 8-1 lead. With his regal cross-court smashes and sharp net-play, he handled the pressure exerted by Tian to win the game 21-18 to enter quarterfinals, where he will meet World No.7 Wang Zhenming Friday.
Kashyap defeated World No.3 Jan O Jorgensen in the quarter-final of Denmark Open last week and also upset World No.4 Kenichi Tago 21-11, 21-18 in the first round here.
In other match, the World No.6 Saina was made to work hard for a 21-19, 21-16 victory over Scotland's World No.21 Kirsty Gilmour. The Scottish girl matched the class and quality of the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist to take a 7-5 lead in the first game before Saina, finalist here in 2012, remained strong to win the first game 21-19. In the second game, the 24-year-old India played aggressively to win the game 21-16.
In the quarterfinals, Saina faces an uphill task of going past the Chinese World No.2 Shixian Wang.
However, it was curtains for the women's doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, who was thrashed 6-21, 8-21 in 23 minutes by the Chinese pair of Wang Xiaoli and Yu Wang.
Also going out were men's doubles team of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar and men's singles shuttler Kidambi Srikanth.
While the Chopra-Dewalkar pairing lost 15-21, 21-19, 15-21 to the Chinese Taipei pair of Lee Mu Sheng and Tsai Hsin Chia, Srikanth lost 20-22, 14-21 to Hans-Kristian Vittinghus.