Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Parupalli Kashyap are in singles quarterfinal action on Friday as India eye a historic medal tally at the world badminton championships in China. For the first time in the history of the world championships, India have three representatives in the last eight stage. Victory in the quarterfinals on Friday will assure a bronze medal for the respective player.
Saina Nehwal will continues her quest for her first world championship title as she faces 13th seed Yeon Ju Bae of Korea in the quarterfinals of on Friday. Saina had reached the quarterfinals in the last three editions of the tournament.
The London Olympics bronze medalist beat Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand 18-21 21-16 21-14 in the previous round. "Bae is a good rally player. So it will be a tough match," said Saina.
India's rising shuttler Sindhu registered a stunning 21-18 23-21 victory over defending champion Yihan Wang of China to join Saina Nehwal in the women's singles quarterfinals. Sindhu faces a tough test in world number eight Shixian Wang of China as she srtrives for a medal finish.
In the men's singles, Kashyap also recorded an upset victory over world number six Yun Hu of Hong Kong 21-13 21-16 to reach the quarterfinals. Kashyap, who will meet world number three Pengyu Du in the last eight stage, said, "I have been in the quarters at Olympics and the All England, so I am happy I have reached this stage again."
Meanwhile India's chief coach Pullela Gopichand praised the trio for their victories but asked them to step up the gas and reach the semifinals of the championships.
"It is a good achievement for India. First time we have three players in the quarterfinals and I am really happy. But now we need to focus more and try to take the game to the next level and reach the semis," Gopichand said.
"Semifinals was our target and we need to at least reach there. It is going to be a big day and I hope the players can get their perspective right and do well at the big match" he added.
(with PTI inputs)