Anand Pawar reaches prequarters of New Zealand Open

Auckland: Indian shuttler Anand Pawar notched up straight-game victories in the first two rounds to advance to the men's singles prequarterfinals of the New Zealand Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament here today.

Pawar, seeded 11th, brushed aside local shuttler Joshua Curry 21-5 21-9 in a lop-sided first-round match, before taming Malaysia's Zulhelmi Zulkiffli 21-11 21-17 at the North Shore Events Centre.

The Indian will next face third seed Lee Hyun Il of Korea. The world no. 22 Korean has beaten Pawar once during their only encounter at the Sri Lanka Open International Challenge last year.

Among other Indians in fray, mixed doubles pair of Tarun Kona and N Sikki Reddy lost 14-21 8-21 to Malaysian combo of Peng Soon Chan and Liu Ying Goh.

Another pair of Rachita Sahdev and Abhinav Manota eked out a hard-fought 21-14 17-21 21-19 win over the Australian combine of Daniel Guda and Joy Lai in a mixed doubles match.

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