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Hidayat storms into Indian Open final

March 28, 2009 18:42 IST

Talismanic Indonesian shuttler Taufik Hidayat kept the spectators hooked on to their seats as he dispatched compatriot Tommy Sugiarto in straight games to storm into the men's singles final of the Yonex Sunrise Indian Open in Hyderabad on Saturday.

The former Olympic gold medallist used his racquet with dexterity during his 33-minute battle with Sugiarto and sent the opposition packing 21-13, 21-11 in the semi-final match of the Grand Prix event.

His lightning backhand return was the highlight of his game as the world number seven smashed hard and indulged in some sharp dribbles and soft drops to the fans delight.

The former world champion impressed with his excellent footwork and seemed in no hurry as he engaged his opponent in some long rallies in the first game, before pocketing it 21-13.

However, in the second, he seemed to have stepped into another gear.

He was far more ruthless in his offence and didn't allow his rival any chance of staging a comeback, quickly moving from 9-3 to 12-5, 15-5 and 19-10 before closing the issue at 21-11.

He was almost flawless in his strokeplay and sounded confident of winning the title.

"I could play the entire range of shots perfectly and I am focused and confident ahead of the final," Hidayat said after the match.

Talking about the semi-final encounter Hidayat said, "It was a good match. Tommy is a young player, he has just come into the national team. He is a strong player, so I preferred to play soft against him. I prefer not to serve high in 21-point game and today also stuck to low serves."

Asked if he is in peak form, the six-time Indonesian Open winner said, "If I win tomorrow then I can say I am in top form."

He said he was happy to play here and hoped to be back for the World Championship to be staged here from August 10 to 16.

"I am happy to play here, the support has surprised me and I hope to come again for the World Championship," said Hidayat, who has often been compared with tennis legend John McEnroe for his colourful persona.

And, when asked about it, the sharp and straight talking shuttler left with a repartee, "I play badminton, not tennis. I am Hidayat."

Amit Kumar Das
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