Parupalli Kashyap went down fighting to former World No. 1 Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia in the first round of the men's singles event in what turned out to be a mixed day for the Indians at the Yonex Sunrise India Open here today.
While K Srikanth posted an upset victory over World No. 6 Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark in another men's singles event, Arvind Bhat expectedly lost to World No. 8 Kenichi Togo.
Kashyap, the fifth seeded Indian, fought hard but failed to prevail over the more experienced Taufik. Kashyap lost 21-13 21-23 18-21 in a battle that lasted exactly an hour at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.
Kashyap has never defeated Taufik. They had met six times before this clash.
In the opening game, Kashyap gave Taufik a run for his money. Relying on his quick smashes and drop shots at the net, the Indian proved to be better than his opponent.
The World No. 7 Indian surged ahead to a 16-10 lead and eventually wrapped up the game 21-13.
The second game, however, was a see-saw battle and could have gone either way. But Taufik raised his game when it mattered most.
There were smashes from both sides, while Taufik proved better at net play.
Levelled at 20-20, Kashyap hit a smash to make it 21-20 and earn the match point. But an unforced error saw him concede it. Taufik took advantage of it and went on to win three straight points to seal the game 23-21.
That was probably the turning point of the match, as in the third and deciding game, Taufik got Kashyap involved in long rallies. The longest rally was won by the Indonesian.
A few minutes later, Taufik was seen arguing with the match referee over a line call, which made it 16-16. But that didn't break his rhythm.
Kashyap also kept his momentum going and it was neck and neck till 18-18, but in the end Taufik ran away with three easy points on the trot to win the match.
"He was picking up my shots, so I had to play him at the net. I should have avoided him at the net but I could not help it," said Kashyap.
"It was a close match and anyone could have won it but at the end he was too good," he added.
Taufik said Kashyap should have won it but was unlucky.
"I didn't believe I could win against Kashyap. But he was not lucky today. Kashyap gave me lot of chances," said Taufik.
In what turned out to be a surprise match of the day, Srikanth beat Jan O Jorgensen 21-7 18-21 21-12 in 45 minutes.
The unseeded Indian hit as many as 33 smash winners compared to 17 by the fourth seeded Jan O Jorgensen.
Srikanth faced no trouble in overcoming his more fancied opponent in the first game. In the second game also the India had opened up a 15-10 lead at one stage but the shuttler from Denmark came from behind to make it 18-18. He then clinched three straight points to take the match to the decider.
In the third game, it was levelled 6-6, before Srikanth surged ahead to make it 11-6. He never looked back thereafter and went on to wrap up the game and match comfortably.
However, Arvind Bhat turned out to be no match for Japan's Togo as he went down in straight games.
The Indian, who had to clear the qualifiers to enter the main draw, tried his best but lost 21-9 21-9 in 32 minutes.
In women's singles first round match, Sayali Gokhale could hardly pose any threat to World No. 8 Ratchanok Intanon of Thiland, taming losing here match 8-21 12-21 in 26 minutes.
India lost both its men's doubles opening round matches in the morning with the Thai combo of Maneepong Jongjit and Nipitphon Puangpuapech beating Tarun Kona and Arun Vishnu 21-17 21-11 in 23 minutes.
While Srujan Nandaluri and Vinay Kumar Reddy lost to the English pair of Chris Adcock and Andrew Ellis 8-21 14-21 in just 21 minutes.
In the mixed doubles category, the fancied pair of V Diju and Jwala Gutta got the better of Chris Langridge and Heather Olver of England 19-21 21-15 21-16 in 53 minutes, while Akshay Dewalka and Pradnya Gadre got the better of Andrew Ellis and Lauren Smith of England 16-21 22-20 21-19 in 48 minutes.
But K Nandagopal and J Meghana lost to South Korean duo of Baek Choel Shin and Ye Na Jang 20-22 14-21 in 28 minutes and Japan's Kenichi Hayakawa and Misaki Matsutomo beat Abhinav Manota and Rachita Sachdev 21-6 21-8 in just 14 minutes.
Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Zieba beat Harinder Malik and Ekta Kalia 21-6 21-8 in 15 minutes.
Arun Vishnu and Aparna Balan went down to Chris Adcock and Gabrielle White of England 15-21 16-21