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Joshi stuns Hidayat; Saina cites fatigue for conceding tie

India’s Pratul Joshi today created a flutter when the 18-year-old stunned the top seed and former Olympic champion Taufiq Hidayat in the first round men’s singles competition of the Syed Modi International India Open Grand Prix Gold on Wednesday.

Joshi, a Delhi University student, was in belligerent form as he did not drop his speed at any stage and emerged victorious against the Indonesian 21-17 21-12 in 30 minutes in the USD 120,000 Gold Championship.

Joshi seemed as much surprised with the outcome as his rival. However, Joshi’s joy in the morning session proved short-lived in the post-lunch session as he lost the next round 18-21 21-16 20-22 to Hidayat’s compatriot, the other Indonesian Siswanto.

Though, overall, the boy from Dhar (Madhya Pradesh) hogged the limelight on the opening day with his giant-killing efforts and gutsy display before crashing out.

“He (Taufiq) is my idol. I was completely blank during the match. However, I have been studying his videos on Youtube. I guess it helped me a bit today. At my age, he (Taufiq) was already playing in the finals of the All-England,” said the self-effacing Joshi.

Hidayat seemed upset with the result and blamed “bad stomach” for his tardy show on the court today. “I had a bad stomach and I was not feeling well,” said the top seed.

Apparently, Joshi was playing on painkillers due to a niggling bone injury, and it probably took a toll on him playing two high-pressure matches on the same day.

Meanwhile, London Olympics bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal conceded her first round match to Russia’s Ksemia Polikarpova, citing injury and fatigue.

Saina, who had won the first game 21-17 and was leading 20-18 in the second, failed to continue further and gave a walk-over to her opponent. Saina later said she had some problem in the knee, which increased during the match.
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