Third seed Saina Nehwal made a perfect start, while 10th seed PV Sindhu made a winning debut in the World Badminton Championships in Guangzhou, China, on Wednesday. Both reached the pre-quarterfinals.
Saina, the London Olympic bronze medallist, sped past Russia’s Olga Golovanova losing only nine points in her 21-5, 21-4 win which came in just 23 minutes.
Asian junior champion Sindhu survived a close call before she overcame the challenge of Kaori Imabeppu of Japan. Sindhu won 21-19, 19-21, 21-17.
Parupalli Kashyap was on the court for just 11 minutes before his Czech opponent Petr Koukal retired with the 13th-seeded Indian leading 14-5. The Czech player had injured his knee in the opening round and felt he could not continue any further.
However, it was curtains for Ajay Jayaram. The Indian, who upset 12th seed Wing Ki Wong in the first round, could not repeat his winning act as he lost to Spain's Pablo Abian 7-21, 17-21.
The men’s doubles pair of Arun Vishnu and K Tarun went down fighting to 15th seeds Alvent Yulianto Chandra and Markis Kido of Indonesia in three games. Thus, India's doubles campaign at the event ended.
Looking good, a fit Saina hardly faced any challenge against Golovanova. She took 13 points in a row in the first game. The second game also proved to be a one-sided affair with the Indian star toying with her opponent.
“It was a good match. I was playing her for the first time but it went on pretty well,” said Saina, who will now face 15th seed Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand in the third round.
Earlier, Sindhu had to fight a slight drop in concentration and a fighting Kaori to advance to the third round. It looked like the World No 12 was on her way to a comfortable victory when she opened up a 19-16 lead in the second game after pocketing the first. But Kaori relied on her rally skills to take five points in a row and took the match into the decider.
However, Sindhu managed to summon all her attacking skills in the decider and scored 16 of the 21 points with smashes to set up a third round encounter against defending world champion Yihan Wang.
“I felt good with the way I played. It was a good match. I could have won the second game but a few errors cost me,” she said, adding that she wasn’t worried much about playing Wang Yihan in the next round.
“I have already played her once in the Sudirman Cup. I had taken the match to three games. So I will give my 100 per cent tomorrow and hopefully I will do well,” Sindhu added.
Meanwhile, speaking about the next round encounter against Yun Hu of Hong Kong, Kashyap said: “He has very good strokes. But I have prepared well for the Championship and I am looking forward to tomorrow’s match.”
(Second Round): Women’s singles: 3-Saina Nehwal bt Olga Golovanova (RUS) 21-5, 21-4; 10-PV Sindhu bt Kaori Imabeppu (JPN) 21-19, 19-21, 21-17.
Men’s singles: Ajay Jayaram lost to Pablo Abian (ESP) 21-7, 21-17; 13-P Kashyap bt Petr Koukal (CZE) 14-5, retd.
Men’s doubles: Arun Vishnu/K Tarun lost to Alvent 15-Yulianto Chandra/Markis Kido (INA) 21-15, 13-21, 21-17.