Top Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap advanced to the second round of the China Super Series Premier after notching up straight-game victories in the women’s and men’s singles competition, respectively, here on Wednesday.
The sixth seed Indian, Saina overcame Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara 21-14, 21-19 in a 39-minute opening match, while world number 12 Kashyap recorded his fourth victory over the eighth ranked Thai Boonsak Ponsana when he beat him 22-20, 21-15 in men’s singles opening round match that lasted 46 minutes.
Olympic Bronze medallist Saina relied on her net game to outclass Nozomi as she registered 19 net winners compared to 11 by the Japanese. The 23-year-old Indian will next take on China’s Sun Yu in the pre-quarterfinals.
Saina, who had beaten Nozomi in Malaysia Open earlier this year, didn’t give the Japanese any chance in the first game as she jumped to a 5-2 lead and then kept extending it to zoom ahead.
In the second game, Saina enjoyed a 10-6 lead but Nozomi reeled off four points to catch up with the Indian. What ensued next was a tough battle for supremacy but it was the world number seven Indian who had the last laugh in the end.
Kashyap matched his higher ranked rival with his smashes and outdid him in net play to earn a place in the second round, where he will meet Japan’s Kento Momota tomorrow.
From 1-4 deficit, Kashyap turned the tables on Boonsak, opening up a slender 9-8 lead. The duo fought hard for each point till 14-14 when Boonsak moved to 16-14 and managed to keep his lead, but the Indian exploded in the final moments, reeling off four straight points to pocket the first game.
In the second game too, Boonsak held an early 3-0 lead but Kashyap soon surged ahead at 6-4. The lead changed hands till 14-14, before the Indian once again raised his game and broke free, capturing four points and three points on the trot.