31 July 2018
Nanjing (China): Indian stars Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth won their respective matches at the Badminton World Championships here on Tuesday.
Saina defeated Aliye Demirbag of Turkey in straight games to enter the third round of the women's singles category.
Saina fought off a brave effort from her Turkish opponent to cruise to a 21-17, 21-18 victory in just 39 minutes.
The opening game saw a tough battle in the early stages before Saina produced a four-point burst to lead 14-10. She held on to the advantage till the end to win the game.
Saina showcased her class in the second game, scoring at ease as she romped to a win.
The Hyderabad-based Indian is expected to face a tougher challenge in the next round where she will meet an experienced opponent in fourth seed Ratchanok Intanon of Indonesia.
Ratchanok staged a strong comeback to win a tough encounter against the impressive Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark.
The nail-biting see-saw battle, which lasted an hour and 16 minutes, saw Ratchanok carve out a 16-21, 22-20, 21-10 victory.
In the men's singles category, Srikanth took 37 minutes to defeat Nhat Nguyen of Ireland in straight games.
The Indian, who advanced to the second round, did not have to sweat too much on his way to a 21-15, 21-16 victory over his unseeded opponent.
Srikanth forced the early advantage, taking four consecutive points to open up a 7-2 lead before increasing the gap to 11-5. Nguyen staged a strong fight back with two four-point streaks of his own to level the scores at 13-13.
He subsequently took a slender lead at 15-14, but the Indian came up with an impressive run of seven back to back points to take the opening game.
The second game saw a neck and neck battle till the halfway stage when the two players went into the break with Srikanth in possession of a 11-9 lead.
The Indian came out all guns blazing after the resumption, taking six consecutive points to open up a comfortable 17-10 advantage. Although Nguyen closed the gap to within two points, Srikanth produced another late burst to wrap up the match.
Srikanth will be up against Pablo Abian of Spain in the next round. The unseeded Spaniard defeated Toby Penty of England 21-18, 21-6 in his campaign opener.
In the mixed doubles competition, the unseeded Indian pair of Saurabh Sharma and Anoushka Parikh lost to eighth seeds Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying of Malaysia by an 18-21, 11-21 margin in 36 minutes.
It was curtains for Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N. Sikki Reddy as well, since they lost 16-21, 4-21 to 12th seeds Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja of Indonesia.