Saina Nehwal began her campaign for an elusive medal at the World championships with a crushing straight-game victory over lower-ranked Olga Golovanova of Russia in the women’s singles of the prestigious event here on Wednesday.
The London Olympics bronze medallist, who had reached the quarterfinals of the previous editions in 2009 and 2011, brushed aside Olga 21-5, 21-4 in just 23 minutes to set up a clash with 15th seed Thai Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in the pre-quarterfinals. Saina has a 5-0 record against the Thai.
Saina was not tested in any way by Olga Although, Saina faltered a bit at the net initially, she recovered quickly.
Olga committed a series of unforced errors and even though she tried to engage Saina in rallies, the Russian never had the strokes to finish off the points.
Earlier in the day, P.V. Sindhu overcame a fighting Kaori Imabeppu of Japan to secure her place in the third round of the women’s singles competition.
Seeded 10th, Sindhu, who won the Malaysian Grand Prix in May this year, had to sweat it out for an hour and 11 minutes before she prevailed 21-19, 19-21, 21-17 over the unseeded Imabeppu.
The World No. 12, who made her debut at the Worlds here, will next take on second-seeded Wang Yihan. The Chinese beat Indonesian Belaetrix Manuputi 21-12, 21-8.
In men’s singles, Parupalli Kashyap emerged victorious after his opponent Petr Koukal from the Czech Republic retired hurt mid-way through the first game at 14-5.
The game lasted just 11 minutes.
The 13th-seeded Indian will next face Hu Yun of Hong Kong, who is ranked sixth in the world. Hu has beaten Kashyap twice — Asia badminton championship in 2010 and Korea Open early this year.
However, it was heart-break for Ajay Jayaram as he suffered a straight-game loss to Pablo Abian in 31 minutes. World No. 24 Ajay, who had stunned the World No. 12 in his opening match, lost 21-9, 21-17 to the Spaniard, who is ranked 88th.
There was more disappointment for India as the men’s doubles pair of Tarun Kona and Arun Vishnu crashed out after suffering a 21-15, 13-21, 21-17 loss to the 15th-seeded Indonesian pair of Alvent Yulianto Chandra and Markis Kido.
Chong Wei stretched
Meanwhile, World No.1 Lee Chong Wei was forced to fight for his place in a thrilling battle with Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka of Indonesia before the Malaysian won 14-21, 21-18, 21-11
Important results: Second round:
Men's singles: 1-Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka (Ina) 14-21, 21-18, 21-11; 4-Boonsak Ponsana (Tha) bt Henri Hurskainen (Swe) 21-7, 15-21, 21-15; 6-Hu Yun (HK) bt Edwin Ekiring (Uga) 21-11, 21-18; 7-Nguyen Tien Minh (Vie) bt Dieter Domke (Ger) 24-22, 21-17.
Pablo Abian (Esp) bt Ajay Jayaram 21-9, 21-17; 8-Tommy Sugiarto (Ina) bt Hsu Jen-hao (Tpe) 21-9, 21-7; 11-Marc Zwiebler (Ger) bt Toby Penty (Eng) 21-14, 21-11.
16-Takuma Ueda (Jpn) bt Viktor Axelsen (Den) 24-22, 21-17; Lin Dan (Chn) bt Eric Pang (Ned) 21-14, 21-17; 13-P. Kashyap (Ind) bt Petr Koukal (Cze) 14-5 retd.
Women's singles: 1-Li Xuerui (Chn) bt Marija Ulitina (Uke) 21-9, 21-10; 3-Saina Nehwal (Ind) bt Olga Golovanova (Rus) 21-5, 21-4; Sayaka Takahashi (Jpn) bt 8-Minatsu Mitani (Jpn) 21-16, 21-9; 9-Lindaweni Fanetri (Ina) bt Beatriz Corrales (Esp) 21-12, 21-11.
10-P.V. Sindhu (Ind) bt Kaori Imabeppu (Jpn) 21-19, 19-21, 21-17; 11-Eriko Hirose (Jpn) bt Petya Nedelcheva (Bul) 11-21, 21-16, 21-18; Linda Zetchiri (Bul) bt 12-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) 21-16, 21-17; 15-Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (Tha) bt Jamie Subandhi (USA) 21-12, 21-9.