Five-time World Champion Lin Dan was knocked out in the quarter-finals of the Indian Open by Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto on Friday, but Saina Nehwal eased past Sugiarto’s compatriot Hana Ramadhini to reach her maiden last four appearance there.
Former world number three Sugiarto came out trumps in a gruelling encounter against the crowd favourite 21-17 15-21 21-17, amidst chants of 'Lin Dan' 'Lin Dan' at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.
"You know who Lin Dan is. He is a legend in badminton. I had lost to him thrice so I had to come up with my best as I know Lin Dan's game," Sugiarto said after the match that lasted for an one hour and 18 minutes.
"He is a superstar wherever he goes. The crowd was backing him so I had to motivate myself and concentrate point after point. I am happy, this is one of my best wins.
"I think he has changed his game in the last few years. His game was more of speed power but he has more accuracy. For me I had to match his accuracy.
"I think at 15-all, Lin Dan lost his concentration. He made a lot of mistakes."
Olympic bronze medallist Saina had little trouble in beating Hana 21-15 21-12 in the women's singles match to reach the last four there for the first time in her career.
The day was one to forget for local players H S Prannoy and RMV Gurusaidutt, though.
After beating top seed Jan Jorgensen of Denmark on Thursday, Prannoy fell short in his match against world number six Viktor Axelsen 21-16 9-21 18-21.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Gurusaidutt was outclassed by China's Xue Song 15-21, 21-18, 21-13 in a match that ended up being far more one-sided than the scoreline suggests.
"I was dominating initially but then Song didn't give me a chance to dribble and he started attacking. I took too long to realise, and could not switch to plan B," said Guru.