Singapore: Anup Sridhar earned the finest result of his career with a three-set win over world No.2 and 1999 All England champion Peter Gade Christensen of Denmark to enter the quarterfinals of the Singapore Open Super Series on Thursday. He was joined by compatriot and world no.7 Saina Nehwal, who got past Adriyanti Firdasari of Indonesia, also in three sets.
Anup got the better of Gade, a former winner of the Singapore Open, 21-19 16-21 21-13 in just under an hour. Saina Nehwal, meanwhile, was briefly troubled by Firdasari but managed to pull through 21-18 17-21 21-17 in 49 minutes.
Thursday was a day of upsets, with the top two seeds in the men’s singles tumbling out. World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei was dispatched by Vietnamese Nguyen Tien Minh in a tough battle, 24-22 20-22 21-19. That leaves No.3 seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia as the highest seed left in the draw.
Anup, who had to go through two rounds of qualifying, had narrowly gotten past Thailand’s Tanongsak in the first round of the main draw.
Anup’s result over Gade rivals his win over former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat in the World Championships at Kuala Lumpur in 2007. He shot off to early leads of 10-4 and 12-6 before Gade belatedly caught up with him at 15-all. It was close until 17-all, when Anup suddenly pulled ahead and got the next four points to take the first game.
Gade retaliated well, shooting to an 8-4 lead in the second, but the Indian drew level. The Dane, however, regained his lead and took the second set comfortably 21-16. The third game was close until the half-way mark. At 13-all, however, Anup shifted a gear higher and reeled off the next eight points to take the game and match. A feature of his game was that he matched Gade, a big hitter, on the smash — winning 18 of his points through his big-hitting game, and clearly dominated the net, winning 40 points to the Dane’s 35.
Following his 2007 World Championships quarterfinal result, the Bangalorean has been troubled by injury and inconsistent form. He was expected to do well at the Beijing Olympics, but suffered an ankle injury and has never been able to match his World Championships result.
Over the last couple of months, Anup hired a personal trainer to work on his fitness, and by the time he left for Singapore, the ankle no longer troubled him. “I would give a lot of credit to his physical fitness,” said Tata Padukone Academy coach Vimal Kumar. “He put in a lot of work on his fitness over the last few months, and that has definitely helped him. But he should not get complacent now.”
Anup next plays Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana for a place in the semifinals.
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