After launching the new season with an emphatic title win at the Syed Modi International, India’s top shuttler Parupalli Kashyap said he needed this victory to silence his critics.
2012 champion Kashyap clinched his second men’s singles title at the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold last Sunday (24) after beating world number five K Srikanth 23-21, 23-21 in a gruelling 52-minute contest, and said it was a great start to the season.
“It is a great way to start the season. In November, I thought about doing well in these two events – Malaysia GPG and Syed Modi. I lost in the pre-quarters in Malaysia but luckily I won the title in this event,” Kashyap said.
“I am very happy to win this. I needed to do well. Srikanth has been doing so well in the last year. Suddenly he rose to world number four and everyone was counting me out.
“When I entered this event, people said I was not in form and told me that I didn’t play well last year. But I told everyone that after the Commonwealth Games I actually played the best in my career.
“I reached the quarters, semis and quarters in the three tournaments that I played in. It’s just that Srikanth had an extraordinary year and so everyone thought I was not playing well. So it was an important victory,” he added.
While the title gave him a lot of happiness, Kashyap ended up suffering a muscle tear in his abdomen.
“My abs was injured during the match. I’m a little worried about it now,” he said.
“Luckily I have time on my hands, because the next important tournament is All England, so I will have time to recover.”
Meanwhile, Saina Nehwal staged a scintillating comeback to defeat reigning world champion Carolina Marin to retain the women’s singles title at the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament last Sunday (24).
World number three Nehwal scraped past the seventh-ranked Spaniard 19-21, 25-23, 21-16 in a see-saw battle lasting an hour and 19 minutes to bag the title.
With the gruelling win, she maintained her 100 per cent win record against marin in three career meetings.
Nehwal showed steely resolve after losing the first game from a 16-12 cushion. She was surging ahead in the second game as well with a 10-6 lead before Marin fought back to go 15-12 up. It was a neck and neck battle from thereon with the Indian saving a couple of match points. She eventually managed to level the match on her third game point.
The Hyderabad player did not repeat the mistakes of the first two games in the decider, taking a 9-4 lead before wrapping up the match on her third match point.
“It was a great win,” Nehwal said after the win. “I have been working hard for this tournament and wanted to defend my title. To beat Caroline in the final is always a confidence booster.
“I have beaten her twice in the past but she is a top level player, the reigning world champion. So overall the right kind of start I was looking for.”