Defending champion Saina Nehwal and rising star Arundhati Pantawane advanced to the pre-quarterfinals of Thailand Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament after notching up contrasting wins in women’s singles competition on Wednesday.

Saina didn’t break much sweat as she prevailed over Shih Han Hung of Chinese Taipei 21-11, 21-16 in a 29-minute match.

The Indian soon reeled off seven straight points to move to 16-7 and then comfortably pocketed the first game.

Shih Han tried to put up a fight in the second game and breathed down Saina’s neck initially but the Indian broke off from 12-12 and widen the gap to eventually close the door on the Taiwanese girl.

Nagpur shuttler Arundhati saw off Min Ji Lee of Korea 14-21, 21-9, 21-15 in a 45-minute battle in the opening round.

However, PC Thulasi suffered a 14-21, 17-21 loss to third seed Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand.

In men’s singles, Sai Praneeth B, Ajay Jayaram, HS Prannoy, Sourabh Verma, Anand Pawar and K Srikanth reached the second round.

Praneeth shocks Hashim

Praneeth stunned 2003 All England Champion Muhammad Hafiz Hashim of Malaysia 21-12, 9-21, 22-20 in a match that lasted 47 minutes, while Jayaram beat Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito 21-11, 19-21, 21-9.

Prannoy defeated Nonpakorn Nantatheero 21-11, 21-19 in another match and will take on fellow Indian Jayaram in the second round.

Pawar prevailed over Riyanto Subagja 21-15, 9-21, 21-14, while Sourabh defeated Khosit Phetpradab 21-16, 21-18 in another match.

Srikanth thrashed Korean Hyuk Jin Jeon 21-17, 21-12 to also reach the second round.

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