It has been a fairytale run for Malaysia’s Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin in the USD350,000 Yonex-Sunrise Dr Akhilesh Das Gupta India Open Masters in New Delhi as he marched into the semi-finals on Friday.
The Malaysian, who had to come through the qualifying rounds, gave another polished display to oust India’s Sameer Verma in the quarter-finals with a 21-17, 21-14 in 49 minutes.
The win over Sameer came in the wake of Iskandar’s straight games 21-19, 21-17 win over India’s world number three and second seed K. Srikanth in the second round – a win that boosted his confidence.
To celebrate his win over Sameer in the quarter-finals Iskandar gave a loud yell after throwing his racquet on the court followed by a big hug for his coach Datuk Misbun Sidek – the man who has never given up hope on the player despite Iskandar’s spate of poor results.
“This is my first semi-final after the China Open in 2016. Coach Misbun made a big difference to me in this tournament at a time when I was going through a bad spell in my badminton career,” said Iskandar.
For a place in Sunday’s final Iskandar will battle fourth seed Shi Yuqi of China who dumped Wang Tzu Wei of Chinese Taipei 21-13, 21-12 in 36 minutes. The other semi-final will be between third seed Chou Tien Chen of Chinse Taipei and China’s Qiao Bin.
There was a major upset in the women’s singles when Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi stunned Olympic champion, second seed Carolina Marin of Spain in straight games 21-12, 21-19 in a 48-minute encounter.
India’s Saina Nehwal, seeded fourth, also fell by the wayside after a surprise 10-21, 13-21 defeat to China-born Zhang Beiwen of the United States in only 32 minutes. Beiwen will meet Ngan Yi in the semi-finals.
However, P.V. Sindhu kept India’s flag flying when the 22-year-old defeated Spain’s Beatriz Corrales in three games 21-12, 19-21, 21-11 and will play former world number one and world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand. The Thai third seed strolled past Hong Kong’s Yip Pui Yin 21-11, 21-11 in 33 minutes. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH
Chou Tien Chen (Tpe) beat B. Sai Praneeth (Ind) 21-15, 21-13
Shi Yuqi (Chn) beat Wang Tzu Wei (Tpe) 21-13, 21-12
Qiao Bin (Chn) beat P. Kashyap (Ind) 21-16, 21-18
Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin (Mas) beat Sameer Verma (Ind) 21-17, 21-14
P.V. Sindhu (Ind) beat Beatriz Corrales (Spn) 21-12, 19-21, 21-11
Zhang Beiwen (US) beat Saina Nehwal (Ind) 21-10, 21-13
Ratchanok Intanon (Tha) beat Yip Pui Yin (Hkg) 21-11, 21-11
Cheung Ngan Yi (Hkg) beat Carolina Marin (Spn) 21-12, 21-19
He Jiting-Du Yue (Chn) beat Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie (Mas) 21-11, 21-19