Written by Badminton News
Thursday, 16 August 2007 15:13
Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat was sensationally dumped from the world badminton championships on Wednesday by unseeded Anup Sridhar from India.
Olympic champion Hidayat, who had been seeded No 8 here, clawed his way back into the match after losing the first game, but ultimately had no answer for the lanky Indian, ranked just 41st in the world.
Hidayat seemed sluggish during the first game but showed flares of brilliance towards the end as the pair matched point for point, before the Indian edged home in a 21-14, 24-26, 22-20 thriller.
India's Anup Sridhar plays a shot at the net against Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat during their men's singles match during the World Badminton Championships in Kuala Lumpur. Sridhar upset championship favourite Hidayat 21-14, 24-26, 22-20.
Hidayat applauded the cheering crowds afterwards but declined to speak to waiting media about the shock loss.
Sridhar said that despite having never beaten the Indonesian star before, and cramping in his left leg towards the end, he was determined to hold on and claim the biggest scalp of his career.
"I knew I had a chance but you never think you can beat someone like that," said Sridhar, who moves into the third round.
"I was getting a little desperate because I was upset at losing the very close second. I was getting desperate and making too many unforced errors," said Sridhar, who is yet to win a top tournament and was bundled out of the event last year in the first round.
In the second upset of the day, England's doubles duo Anthony Clark and Robert Blair, silver medallists at the 2006 worlds, were ousted by unseeded Polish pair Michal Logosz and Robert Mateusiak 21-16, 21-16.
In contrast, world number one Lin Dan of China coasted into the third round, trouncing Hong Kong's Ng Wei 21-8, 21-10.
Malaysia kept their hopes of a first-ever world title alive with second seed Lee Chong Wei hammering Eric Pang 21-7, 21-11 to also move to the third round.
The Malaysian star looked in fine form with an array of overhead smashes and delicate net shots, all of which left the Dutchman struggling.
Compatriots Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong, the Asian Games and All-England champions, quickly followed Lee's lead, despatching Roman Spitko and Michael Fuchs of Germany in just 26 minutes.
"This was a good start for us," Koo said.
Their main rivals, defending champions Fu Haifeng and Cai Yun, had an easy outing against Bulgaria's Vladimir Metodiev and Stilian Makarski, winning 21-12, 21-10.
Denmark's Peter Gade, the only European capable of taking on the Asian giants in men's singles, fought off a ferocious challenge from Hong Kong's Yan Kit Chan before clinching his 21-18, 25-23 win with a precision overhead smash.
On the women's side, defending champion Xie Xingfang led the Chinese charge for gold, steamrolling her way into the third round over Ana Moura of Portugal.
It was the world number two's first outing at Putra Stadium and the twig-thin Xie barely raised a sweat, winning 21-2, 21-7.
Teammate and world number one Zhang Ning was similarly never troubled by Jang Soo Young in her opener, downing the South Korean 21-9, 21-14.
Fourth seed Pi Hongyan, a former Chinese squad member now playing for France, outclassed Canada's Charmaine Reid 21-13, 21-12, while Asian Games gold medallist Wang Chen of Hong Kong easily downed Singapore's Li Li 21-13, 21-6.
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