Jakarta: Young Indian shuttler B Sai Praneeth stunned former world and Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia to storm into the pre-quarterfinals of the Indonesian Super Series Premier on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old Indian, who made it to the main draw through the qualifiers, came back from one game down as he won the remaining two in stunning fashion to shock the former world number one and 2004 Athens Olympics gold medallist 15-21 21-12 21-17 in a 52-minute gruelling first round contest. The world number 55 Indian, now runs into world number one and 2012 London Olympics silver medallist Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, in the pre-quarterfinals tomorrow.
Three other Indians -- Ajay Jayaram, RMV Gurusaidutt and Sourabh Verma -- also reached the prequarterfinals but it turned out to be a bad day in office for world number 10 Parupalli Kashyap as he crashed out of the men's singles competition. The 26-year-old Kashyap was not in his elements and was completely outclassed by former world number six Sho Sasaki of Japan 7-21 8-21 in his campaign opener, which lasted just over half an hour.
However, world number 28 Jayaram, Gurusaidutt and Varma notched up victories later in the day to keep India afloat in the men's singles event. While Jayaram struggled past world number 71 Riyanto Subagja of Indonesia 22-20 8-21 21-12 in a 49-minute hard-fought battle, Gurusaidutt, ranked 25th, got the better off another local player Andre Kurniawan Tedjono 22-20 21-16.
Jayaram will take on fourth seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro, who had won the silver medal at the 2007 World Championship in Kuala Lumpur. Gurusaidutt will meet the winner of the match between seventh seed Dane Jan O Jorgensen and Japan's Kazumasa Sakai. Varma prevailed over Hans-Kristian Vittinghus of Denmark 19-21 21-14 21-15 in a one-hour-five-minute first round contest. He takes on third seed Chinese Pengyu Du in the pre-quarterfinals.
However, in the decider, Jayaram got his act together and distanced himself from 4-4. The Indian started dominating the proceedings and knocked off six points on the trot to further consolidate his position and eventually seal the issue. In the other men's singles match, Gurusaidutt rode on his powerful smashes to tame Andre. Although, the first game was a rollercoaster ride for both the players as leads exchanged hands quite often, the Indian had his nose ahead after a hard-fought battle.
In the second game, Gurusaidutt was more in control and after an early fight, he managed to create a gulf and hanged on to the lead to emerge victories in the end.