India's Saina Nehwal stormed into the quarterfinals of the World Badminton Championships, beating Russia's Ella Diehl in straight games here on Thursday.
The second-seeded Indian took just 40 minutes to tame 13th seed Diehl 21-14, 21-18 in the third round of the women's singles event.
But minutes before the start of Saina's match, World No. 1 and top seed Yihan Wang of China was stunned by Japan's Eriko Hirose in a three-game thriller that lasted an hour and fifteen minutes. Hirose won 20-22, 21-16, 21-18.
No sign of nerves
However, Saina did not show any nerves against Diehl nor did she carry forward the sluggishness that marked her match against Chinese Taipei's Chen in the second round.
The Indian was aggressive from the start and knowing that her opponent Diehl liked long rallies kept the pace slow and killed the game in mid-court.
Within minutes of the start Saina was off to a 10-5 lead as the Russian made errors at the net.
Saina's main weapon, the drop shot, was again used to good effect as thrice in a row the Russian could not pick up the shuttle as it dropped inches off the net on her side.
At 18-14, Saina reeled off three points in a row, forcing an error at the net from Diehl to win the opening game 21-14.
In the second game, Saina again started off winning five consecutive points on her serve before Diehl won her first point on a net error by the Indian.
Both the players were a little more wary as the Russian tried to force the pace with a combination of drop shots and high tosses.
At 6-6, it seemed that the game would be tough and hard-fought, but Saina changed her strategy and played mid-court more often and avoided net play till she had a lead of 15-10.
When it looked like the game would go in Saina's favour, the Russian made a last ditch effort and equalised with some smart net play at 17-17.
But Saina got her composure back to take the lead at 20-18 and finally pocketed the match when Diehl sent the shuttle across the side line.
The results (third round):
Men: Kazushi Yamada (Jpn) bt Dicky Palyama (Ned) 14-21, 21-19, 21-11; Peter Gade (Den) bt Marc Zwiebler (Ger) 21-14, 21-15; Hsuen Hsuan Yi (Tpe) bt Boonsak Ponsana (Tha) 21-13, 21-11; Lin Dan (Chn) bt Bao Chunlai (Chn) 21-16, 21-13; Chen Jin (Chn) bt Chen Yong Zhao (Sin) 21-17, 21-10.
Women: Tine Baun (Den) bt Petya Nedelcheva (Bul) 21-19, 23-21; Wang Lin (Chn) bt Yip Pui Yin (Hkg) 21-13, 21-17; Erike Hirose (Jpn) bt Yihan Wang (Chn) 20-22, 21-16, 21-18; Wang Xin (Chn) bt Ai Goto (Jpn) 21-13, 21-13; Saina Nehwal (Ind) bt Ella Diehl (Rus) 21-14, 21-18.
Keywords: World Badminton Championships