Badminton

China Open: Saina Nehwal cruises into second round, PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy made to sweat

Nehwal will face familiar foe Akane Yamaguchi in the next round of the prestigious Superseries Premier event.

Saina Nehwal sailed into the women’s singles second round of the China Open Superseries Premier with a straight-game win over USA’s Beiwan Zhang on Wednesday while PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy were made to sweat before closing out hard-fought wins in their respective opening matches.

Saina, who recently won the National Championships beating Sindhu in the final, needed exactly 30 minutes to tame Zhang 21-12 21-13 in her tournament opener.

In fifth seed Akane Yamaguchi, who beat China’s Xiaoxin Chen 21-12, 21-14, Saina has drawn a tough opponent in the next round. The Indian trails the Japanese one to three in head-to- head record with their three previous results going in Yamaguchi’s favour.

Tough wins for Prannoy and Sindhu

In the late matches of on Wednesday, world No 11 Prannoy made it to the second round of the men’s singles draw but he had to toil hard for that. India’s most-recent National Champion had to fight it out for exactly 90 minutes to win 18-21, 21-16, 21-19 against Korea’s Dong Keun Lee.

Prannoy will be up against Hog Kong qualifier Cheuk Yiu Lee in the next round.

Sindhu had to dig deep as well to get the better of Sayaka Sato, ranked No 13 in the world. Second seed Sindhu was made to work hard by her Japanese opponent Sato as the Indian toiled hard for 59 minutes on the court to get the better of Sato 24-22, 23-21.

Sindhu next plays an easy opponent in Chinese qualifier Yue Han.

However, it was curtains for another men’s singles shuttler Sourabh Verma, who lost in the first round to France’s Brice Leverdez 14-21, 21-15, 11-21.

The men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also failed to cross the opening hurdle, losing to Chinese pair of Cheng Liu and Nan Zhang 13-21, 13-21.

It was disappointment for India in the women’s doubles, and mixed doubles events as well.

The women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponappa and N Siki Reddy were shown the door in the opening round by Korean duo of Ha Na Baek Chae Yoo Jung 14-21, 15-21.

Later, Ponappa’s China Open campaign ended when she and Satwiksairaj Rankiredddy fought hard before losing 19-21, 21-17, 13-21 to Denmark’s Mathias Christiansen and Christinna Pedersen in the opening round of the mixed doubles.

In the last match of the day, another Indian men’s doubles pair made an early exit as recently crowned National Champions Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy were shown the door by top seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo 18-21, 15-21.

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