Kashyap needs to step it up

What is lost in her title-winning, medal-claiming exploits has been Saina Nehwal's remarkable consistency. Since the time she first entered the elite list three years back, she has not once dropped out of the Top 10. It's this straight worm on the graph, this template of solidity at the top that her men's singles counterpart Parupalli Kashyap will need to look at as he waits on the threshold of the Top 10, having reached World No 11 this last week.

The last time an Indian hovered around Top 10s was in 2009 (he peaked at No 10) when Chetan Anand hit a purple patch with a couple of Grand Prix wins that season. But further progress eluded him as he struggled to string together good weeks, and his stagnation offers more lessons for Kashyap, on the cusp of Top 10s ahead of his self-set deadline of the 2013 season. For, it gets tougher to corner the big headlines as he moves up and looks to pitch tent here.

A tad inconsistent throughout his career, Kashyap's been guilty of too many first and second Super Series round exits, and not necessarily against the marquee names. In an almighty expending of his energy, Kashyap has also ended up battling three-setters an exhausting 15 times, a few against rank outsiders — meaning lesser players have managed to keep him on court for over an hour at least once every tournament. The Hyderabadi needs to get ruthless and avoid these stamina-sapping affairs.

While Kashyap can count Top 10 players Tien Minh Nguyen, Jan Jorgensen and Chen Long as his scalps this last year, he will need to get a few more big names to stumble from their perches before he begins to believe he truly belongs in that bracket.

Kashyap, like Nehwal did on her way to half a dozen Super Series titles, will need to work hard on cutting down errors and loose shots as well as utilise the relatively easier draws that will come his way this year.

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