New Delhi: In a neck-and-neck tie at the India Open, India's top-ranked men's player Parupalli Kashyap lost to the former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat 21-13, 21-23, 18-21 to bow out in the first round of the Super Series event at the Siri Fort Complex on Wednesday.
At the start of the match it seemed like two Indians were playing against each other as every point won by either Kashyap or Hidayat was cheered by the crowd present here, but the Indonesian had the last laugh.
Before this match, Kashyap had played Hidayat six times and at all meetings ended up on the losing side. This time around at home, he would have liked to put the record straight but Hidayat once again got the better of the Indian.
The valiant Kashyap fought bravely but fell short against a very experienced opponent 21-13, 21-23, 18-21.
Kashyap made a determined start to the match by taking the first game 21-13, during which Hidayat looked clueless. But the champion in Hidayat didn't allow him to rest and he showed his spark of genius in his drop shots, smashes and net play in the next game.
Hidayat looked like going down easily against the world No. 7 but hanged in there, at most times ahead by just a point. Kashyap, however, turned it around towards the end in the second set. He played an overhead smash to equalise the game at 20-20 and then came up with another smash to make it 21-20. He was one point away from clinching the match, but Hidayat exhibited his skills and came up with two back-to-back points to take the set 23-21.
In the final game Hidayat didn't want to let go of the momentum and continued in the same vein and sealed the match 21-18. Kashyap was a disappointed man after losing to the world No. 26 for the seventh time but was satisfied with his performance. "I'm happy that I didn't make any silly mistakes this time like I used to do whenever I played against him. But I wanted to beat Taufik before he retires," Kashyap said.
In the other men's singles matches, RMV Gurusaidutt defeated Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto 21-16, 21-17 and Ajay Jayaram beat Vladimir Malkov 21-17, 21-17.