Banga Beats hopes of launching an unlikely assault at a clean sweep to remain in contention for the semis came unstuck straight off the bat as Parupalli Kashyap was upset by a determined Tanongsak Saemsomboonsuk. The 22-year-old from Thailand used aggression and finesse in equal measure to outwit the Indian 21-20, 21-18.
Tanongsak got off to a rapid 5-0 start making full use of his height and power. Kashyap tried to take the rallies to the net, seeking to get a foot in the match. But Saensomboonsuk displayed equal imagination to ensure he retained the five point gap into the first break at 7-2.
When they returned, Kashyap showcased his feathery dribbling skills to draw the 22-year-old Thai player to the net and inch closer on the scoreboard. Kashyap drew out his clenched fist and elicited a mighty roar from the near capacity crowd insider the indoor stadium at Gachibowli in Hyderabad when he drew level at 10-10.
As the two battled with intensity, the rallies grew longer, enthralling the packed audience with its scintillating quality and intelligence. Kashyap took the lead for the first time at 11-10 and carried it into the second period of relief at 14-11. The 14th ranked Kashyap sought to forge ahead but the crafty Thai star kept him in check as he clawed back to 16-16.
The Hyderabadi, playing for the Bengaluru team, opened up a two point advantage at 18-16. Kashyap gained game point at 19-18 with a ferocious smash to the forehand side of his opponent. But a powerful smash by Tanongsak and a service return into the net by Kashyap allowed Tanongsak to set up a dual match point at 20-20. Kashyap deployed a forehand up the line inches wide to surrender the first game to his opponent.
Kashyap’s situation took a turn for the worse, as the 27-year-old failed to make an impression on Tonangsak. The Thai player controlled the pace and direction of the rallies to take a commanding 7-1 lead. Banga Beats needed an unlikely 5-0 sweep to remain in the mix, but when the players took a breather at 14-4 in favour of the 22-year-old from Thailand, defeat was looming for Kashyap.
With his back to the wall, Kashyap mounted a late challenge. The 14th ranked Indian won 9 of the next eleven points to draw within striking distance of his runaway opponent. At 16-13, Tonangsak produced a wily kill at the net to gain a four point lead at 17-13.
Kashyap marched into the net on the net produce a smash and make it 17-14. On the next point, he brought the stadium to let out a frightening roar with a thundering smash to the stretched forehand of Tanongsak.
A service error from the Thai star helped Kashyap to within two points at 18-16. Tanongsak went straight at the body of the Banga Beats icon to cramp him for space and get within two points of clinching the match. Amidst a persistent chanting of the Indian’s name Kashyap made it 19-18, but Tonangsak took the next two points to end the Indian’s belated challenge.
7-1, 9-2, 14-4