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World Badminton Championships: Saina Nehwal, Sai Praneeth reach pre-quarters

PTI logoPTI 23-08-2017
India’s Saina Nehwal plays a shot during the Women’s Singles final, against  Spain’s Carolina Marin at the All England Badminton Championships in Birmingham, England, Sunday, March 8, 2015. © AP Photo/Rui Vieira India’s Saina Nehwal plays a shot during the Women’s Singles final, against Spain’s Carolina Marin at the All England Badminton Championships in Birmingham, England, Sunday, March 8, 2015.

GLASGOW: A confident Saina Nehwal brushed aside the challenge of Sabrina Jaquet in straight games to move to the World Badminton Championship pre-quarterfinals, on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old London Olympics bronze medalist hardly broke a sweat as she cruised past her Swiss rival 21-11, 21-12 in just 33 minutes at the Emirates Arena.

It was second victory for Saina, who received a bye in the opening round, over Sabrina since the Indian had beaten her rival at the 2012 London Olympics as well.

Sania had won a silver medal in the previous edition of the World Championship in Jakarta while Sabrine is a winner of a bronze medal at European Championships this year.

Saina is likely to take on second seed Sung Ji Hyun. The Indian has a 7-2 head-to-head record against the Korean and most recently beat her at the Australian Open in June.

Singapore Open champion B Sai Praneeth, who was playing on the adjacent court, survived a scare from 20-year-old Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, who is the 2014 Youth Olympic and World Junior Championships boys' singles bronze medalist.

World No 19 Praneeth bounced back from a game down to outwit the World No 26 Indonesian 14-21, 21-18, 21-19 in a men's singles match that lasted an hour and 12 minutes.

In the women's singles match, 12th seed Saina stamped her authority right from the start as she zoomed to a 4-0 lead before extending it to 11-6.

The Swiss tried her bit and came as close as 9-13 before Saina reeled off five straight points and eventually wrapped the opening game in 14 minutes.

In the second game, Saina once again opened up a 5-2 lead and had a 11-7 advantage at the interval.

The Indian did not take the foot off the pedal and dished out a series of body smashes to surge to victory.

On the adjacent court, Praneeth was facing the fire of Anthony, who cruised to a 8-0 lead and then jumped to a 16-6 advantage.

The gap was too much for Praneeth to bridge as he lost the first game. The Indian got his bearing back and put up a better effort in the second game, reaching a 7-4 and 11-9 advantage at the break.

Leading 14-12, Praneeth had to take a medical timeout and when the game resumed, Anthony managed to grab a slender 16-15 lead but the Indian did not let the opportunity slip as he soon turned the tables on his rival to roar back into contest.

In the decider, Praneeth opened up a 6-2 lead but Anthony managed to grab a 11-9 lead at the breather. After the interval, Anthony managed to surge to a 18-12 advantage.

But a gritty Praneeth erased a six-point deficit to grab two match point advantage at 20-18. Anthony saved one but the Indian sealed it next to reach the next round.

Last night, Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha S Ram played their heart out before going down 21-13, 16-21, 8-21 to Eefje Muskens and Selena Piek of The Netherlands.

Young men's doubles pair of Arjun MR and Ramchandran Shlok also bowed out of the event after their fight ended in a 14-21, 21-19, 14-21 loss to Chinese Taipei combination Liao Min Chun and Cheng Heng Su.

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