After becoming the first Indian man to reach the quarter-finals of the Olympic Games, Parupalli Kashyap will aim to go a step further by making it to the last four of the London Games on Thursday.
But his quarter-final clash is as tough as he could have got. The 25-year-old shuttler will now face the world No. 2 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia. The 21st ranked Kashyap had to bring in all his experience and craft into play to quell the strong challenge of his rival in the semi-finals.
But Kashyap was at his confident best against his Sri Lankan opponent Niluka Karunaratne whom he beat in three sets 21-14 15-21 21-9. He played aggressively and employed his drop-shots to perfection. His opponent didn’t have any answer to the smashing cross-court winners of the Indian, and his trademark drop shots fetched him points whenever he needed a few.
Chong Wei, in his last-16 clash, defeated Simon Santoso of Indonesia in straight sets 21-12, 21-8.
The previous best performances by the Indians at the Olympics were by Dipankar Bhattacharjee, who entered the pre-quarterfinals at the 1992 Barcelona Games, and Pullela Gopichand, who lost in the pre-quarters at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.