India ace Saina Nehwal warmed up for the tough battle ahead with a comfortable straight-game victory over Dutch Jie Yao as she reached the women’s singles quarter-finals of the London Olympics, in London on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old Saina brought some cheer to the Indian camp on an otherwise dismal day as she clinically dismantled her Netherlands opponents with a 21-14, 21-16 scoreline in a tussle which lasted 40 minutes.
After her compatriot P Kashyap created history by becoming the first Indian to move into men’s singles quarter final, Saina kept her reputation intact by making it to the last-eight stage of the badminton competitions, that has been hit by scandal which had led to disqualification of four top teams.
After two easy matches in the group stages, it was a good warm up for Saina, who will take on either two-time All England champion Tine Baun of Denmark or Sayaka Sato of Japan in the quarterfinals.
Up against the world No 20 Jie, Saina surged to a 11-5 lead and moved to the game point in a jiffy when the Dutch girl hit wide.
The Chinese-born girl saved a few game points, mainly because of the error of judgement by Saina and a couple of loose shots but soon the Indian pocketed the game with a beautiful net play.
In the second game, Saina brought out her variations and involved Jie in rallies to lead 11-7 at the break. Jie fought back to narrow the gap to 14-12 but that didn’t affect the Indian as she moved ahead to 19-15 with a drop and then executed a cross court smash to earn the match point.
Jie won a net play but with her hitting out, Saina burst into celebration.