Kashyap reaches Korea Open semis

The 33-year-old will now face top-ranked Kento Momota in the semi-final.

By Swapnil Bhopatkar ·

Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap became only the second Indian to reach the Korea Open semi-finals, following a sumptuous 24-22, 21-8 victory over Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen on Friday.

Growing into the game after a barrage from the Dane’s early attacks, the former world number six did enough in the latter stages to book a place in the semi-finals, where he will square off against the current world number one Kento Momota of Japan on Saturday.

Confidence boost

A sparkling performance like this will instill some much-needed confidence in Kashyap, who has been in and out of action due to injuries in the past couple of years.

Having worked his way from being ranked 55th in March this year to 30th right now, the 33-year-old Kashyap has not enjoyed too much success in the calendar year. In fact, his best performance in 2019 came at the Canada Open where he lost to China’s Li Shifeng in the final.

Old foe

Kashyap headed into the match with a 2-4 win-loss record against the Dane, although the duo had not crossed paths in the last five years.

On Friday, it was Jorgensen who went into an 11-8 lead following an initial exchange of serves.

Clever placements coupled with ferocious attacks made it appear that it was the Dane’s match to lose.

Kashyap, on his part, played one phenomenal lift over the net – which left every single spectator awestruck – but struggled to assert his authority early on.

But the tables were turned after the restart, as Kashyap made it 14-12. Another barrage of quick one-twos eventually left the game hanging at 20-20.

From being subdued in the early part of the game, Kashyap was in full florish. Despite giving away one important game point opportunity, the Indian sealed the deal at 24-22 when Jorgensen hit the net.

Tactical nous

Knowing he couldn’t outsmart his opponent in terms of speed and power, Kashyap played a majority of the second game near the net. The approach paid dividends as he headed into the mid-game interval with an 11-7 lead. From there on, the Dane was only allowed a solitary point.

After 37 minutes on court, Kashyap secured a 24-22, 21-8 triumph with a smash.

Now with Momota waiting in the semi-finals, Kashyap has produced his best ever performance at the Korea Open.