Parupalli Kashyap beats June Wei Cheam to win Austrian Open title
Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap returned to the winners’ circle by triumphing at the Austrian Open 2018 -- an International Challenge tournament held in Vienna on Saturday. The World No. 44, seeded second at this event, staved off a big challenge in the first game from Malaysia's 126th ranked June Wei Cheam to notch up a 23-21, 21-14 win in the final.
This was Kashyap’s first title on the BWF World Tour since claiming the Syed Modi International title in January, 2015. Since then he’s endured a tough time, owing to quite a few injuries. The win is expected to push him up in the rankings as well.
Kashyap’s last final had come at the US Open in July, where he finished as the runner-up to HS Prannoy in three games.
Kashyap did not drop a game all week, although he was very close to doing so in the summit clash. He squandered an early lead of 16-11 to let his less experienced opponent come back into the first game.
Cheam levelled matters at 18-18 and put the pressure right back on the Indian. He even held three game points which Kashyap saved through a combination of aggressive play and delicate touch at the net before converting on his first game point.
The second game was even till 4-4 but Kashyap broke away from the tie from thereon and built an 11-5 advantage going into the mid-game interval. Cheam could not provide much resistance after that, except towards the very end when he took three points to reduce the deficit from 11-19 to 14-19.
The Indian soon wrested the momentum with a beautiful crosscourt drop and then made use of his very first match point to clinch the win.
Kashyap showed his comeback skills in semi-final
Earlier in the day, Kashyap needed 37 minutes to prevail over the fifth seeded Raul Must of Estonia 21-18, 21-4 in the semi-finals. The Estonian, ranked 66th in the world, had the early advantage and soared to an 11-6 lead in the first game.
Must prevented the Indian from playing an attacking game and engaged him in long rallies, which worked in favour of the lower-ranked player. Must had a healthy lead of 16-10 following which the former World No. 6 embarked on his comeback.
He reeled off seven consecutive points to go up to 17-16 before going on all-out attack to grab the first game.
The second game was all Kashyap, who never relented. Must looked completely clueless and had no answer as the Indian added nine points from 11-3 to go up to 20-3, before completing the win.