NEW DELHI: Parupalli Kashyap paused for a moment when asked about the last time he entered the semifinals of a Super 500 tournament. The said level didn’t exist before 2018. That apart, Kashyap is sure that it has been a while since his last title triumph: Austrian Open (a $25,000 event) last February last year.
Compare that to the semis of India Open — a $350,000 event — he reached on Friday after beating Wang Tzu-wei 21-16, 21-11, and you get the gist of how long the 32-year-old has been trying to put up a notable performance at a big-money event.
The first Indian male to reach the quarterfinals of an Olympics in 2012 has been a shadow of himself since. While he didn’t start this year on the best of notes, the veteran presented a different version of himself here. And he is a little surprised by the way his body has coped. “I feel good. I’m having a good run here. I’m not at my fittest yet, but I’m not sure how I’ve kept this up.”
From being a star himself, it is understandable how Kashyap feels while he is touring mostly to support his partner. While he is happy to do that for wife Saina Nehwal, the player in him is itching to be on the court.
“I want to play in those tournaments. I am going for Saina and touring a lot. Next week, I am going to Malaysia. I am going with her and will train with the team. But yeah, I am in the reserve four.”
Kashyap is aware that this year will be all about Olympic qualification, and he knows the amount of competition that a berth for Tokyo entails. But he isn’t looking only at a cursory Olympic appearance. “I don’t just want to qualify. I want to be a medal contender.”
Results (only Indians)
Singles: Men: Parupalli Kashyap bt Wang Tzu-wei 21-16, 21-11; HS Prannoy lost to Viktor Axelsen (x2) 10-21, 16-21; Kidambi Srikanth (x3) bt B Sai Praneeth 21-23, 21-11, 21-19. Women: PV Sindhu (x2) bt Mia Blichfeldt (x8) 21-19, 22-20.
Doubles: Men: Manu Attri (x6)/Sumeeth Reddy bt Pranaav Jerry Chopra/Shivam Sharma 21-10, 21-12. Women: Greysia Polii (x1)/Apriyani Rahayu bt Ashwini Ponnappa/N Sikki Reddy 21-10, 21-18. Aparna Balan/Sruthi KP lost to Jongkolphan Kititharakul (x2)/Rawinda Prajongjai 8-21, 11-21.