China Grand Prix Gold: Parupalli Kashyap, Harsheel Dani into last 16April 19, 2017
NEW DELHI: In his comeback to competitive badminton after a three-month absence, 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medalist Parupalli Kashyap has beaten Thailand’s Suppanyu Avihingsanon 21-16, 21-17 to enter the last 16 of the 2017 China Grand Prix Gold.
Kashyap, whose men’s singles ranking has fallen to 104 in the time that he was forced out of action owing to a knee injury sustained earlier this year, took the lead in the first game before his opponent leveled the scores briefly at 15-15, but Kashyap pulled away to take it 21-16.
In the second game, Avihingsanon led 14-12 before Kashyap fought back to make it 18-13, which then became 18-17 as a heated encounter intensified. Kashyap, however, held his nerve to make overcome Avihingsanon’s spirited opposition.
In January, Kashyap – a protege of All-England champion Pullela Gopichand – had injured himself while falling on the court during the Premier Badminton League final between winners Chennai Smashers and Mumbai Rockets, which ruled him out of action until the ongoing Grand Prix Gold tournament. The 30-year-old had got a bye in the first round and faced world No 59 Avihingsanon, whom he had lost to in their only previous encounter, in round two.
Also progressing past round two of the tournament was 20-year-old Harsheel Dani, who defeated China’s Yan Runze in straight games 21-16, 22-20 on Wednesday. Ranked 102 in men’s singles, Dani had beaten the world No 113 Chun-Wei Chen 21-17, 21-18 a day earlier.
In the women’s singles, Sri Krishna Priya Kudaravalli lost to Li Yun 18-21, 11-21 and Sai Uttejitha Rao Chukka was beaten by Li Wenmei 21-4, 13-21, 21-12 to exit the competition.
Most of India’s major badminton players have skipped the China Grand Prix Gold in order to focus on next week’s Badminton Asia Championships (Individuals).