Olympics Badminton: Kashyap face-off giant-killer Sri Lankan Karunaratne in last16
London: Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap, who stunned world number 11 Tien Minh Nguyen of Vietnam in pre-quarterfinals of the men`s singles event today, will now take on another giant killer, Niluka Karunaratne of Sri Lanka in the last 16 stage of the London Olympics.
Kashyap, ranked 21st in the world, thrashed Tien 21-9 21-14 in the second and final Group D match of the men`s singles event to reach the knockout stage. He had beaten Belgium`s Tan Yuhan in an earlier game.
Karunaratne, too, had produced a gritty performance to surprise eighth seed Kenichi Tago of Japan 21-18 21-16 to top group C yesterday.
The Sri Lankan flagbearer at the opening ceremony, Karunaratne is ranked 48th in the world and has been an unheralded player even though he had won four tournaments at international challenge level.
Kashyap, on the other hand, is the only Indian male shuttler after his coach Pullela Gopichand to reach the pre-quarterfinals at the Olympics and he will hope to surpass his mentor when he will lock horns with Karunaratne.
Among others, former World and Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia will take on defending champion and four-time world champion Lin Dan of China in the last 16 stage after topping his group following his 22-20 21-11 win over Pablo Abian of Spain today.
India`s ace shuttler Saina Nehwal, who has also advanced to the pre-quarterfinals after her comfortable victory over Belgium`s Lianne Tan yesterday, is likely to clash with 14th seeded Jie Yao of The Netherlands in the last 16.