Olympics: Kashyap shines on a mixed day for Indian badminton (Roundup)
London, July 28 (IANS) Parupalli Kashyap was the lone bright spot for Indian badminton on a day when the highly-rated women's doubles pair and the mixed doubles team lost their opening matches in the 2012 London Olympics at the Wembley Arena here Saturday.
The day started on a losing note for Indian badminton as the mixed doubles pair of V.Diju and Jwala Gutta could not put up a fight against third seeds Indonesia's Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsi and were thrashed 16-21, 12-21 in 27 minutes in their Group C match.
But Olympic debutant Kashyap brought back smiles beating Yuhan Tan of Belgium in straight games in the men's singles. Kashyap won 21-14, 21-12 in 38 minutes. It was the Indian's second win over Yuhan in three encounters.
However, there was more bad news as the women's doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa, bronze medallist in the 2011 World Championships, lost their opening group match to the Japanese duo of Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa.
While the mixed doubles and the women's doubles team are in a must-win situation, Kashyap can now take it easy.
The 25-year-old Kashyap played like a champion and took a seven point lead early in the first game only to give away a few. However, the nippy shuttler kept the score-line ticking and sealed the game with his second game point.
The Indian, ranked World No.21, played the second game with authority as he romped to a 12-point lead and easily sealed the game 21-12 in 14 minutes.
The Hyderabadi next faces World No.11 and 10th seed Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam. Kashyap will need to beat Minh, against whom the Indian has a 2-3 head-to-head record, to advance into the knockout stages.
Much was expected from the mixed doubles pair of Jwala and Ashwini, gold medallists at the Commonwealth Games. But they failed to put up a fight at the same venue where they had won a bronze medal in the World Championships in 2011.
They were thrashed 16-21, 18-21 in 45 minutes by Japanese duo Mizuki and Reika in their Group B match. Jwala and Ashwini will need to win their next two group matches to qualify for the knockouts which begin Wednesday. They next face Wen Hsing Chengn and Yu Chin Chien of Chinese Taipei Sunday.
Earlier, Diju and Jwala were thrashed 16-21, 12-21 by Indonesia's Tontowi and Liliyana in 27 minutes in their Group C match. This was their second consecutive loss to the Indonesian pair, after last year's French Open.
Diju and Jwala will next face Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Denmark Sunday whom they have never beaten in their two meetings yet. Only two of the four teams will qualify for the quarter-finals from each of the four groups.
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