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Australian Open: Saina in quarters, Srikanth, Jwala-Ashwini lose

Sydney: World No.1 women's singles shuttler Saina Nehwal continued her brilliant form as she stormed into the quarter-finals with a win over China's Sun Yu, while Kidambi Srikanth and the women's doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa were ousted in the second round of the $750,000 Australian Open Superseries here on Thursday.

Olympic bronze medallist Saina prevailed over world No.9 Sun 21-19, 19-21, 21-14 in an hour and 18 minutes to set up a last eight clash with China's former world No.1 Shixian Wang, who moved past Thailand's Busanan Ongbumrungpan 21-19, 8-21, 21-13 at the Sydney Olympic Park.

Defending champion Saina, 25, has a 6-5 head-to-head lead over 2010 Asian Games champion Shixian. And the Hyderabadi shuttler, who trains in Bengaluru's Prakash Padukone Academy under the guidance of U.Vimal Kumar, will look to further improve her record against the formidable Chinese.

In the match involving Saina, the first game was a neck-to-neck affair as Sun brought out her best. It eventually turned out to be a thriller as Saina claimed the game 21-19.

It was the reverse result in the second game as Sun came back strong to take the game 21-19. However, Saina did not lose heart as she clinched five back-to-back points in the decider.

Sun tried her best but could only collect 14 points from the game, as Saina clinched the contest 21-19, 19-21, 21-14 in one hour and 18 minutes.

In the men’s singles round two encounter, Srikanth got off to a brilliant start pocketing the first game against Chinese Tian Houwei 21-18.

However, the world No.4 faltered in the last two games against Tian, who is six rungs below Srikanth in the rankings. Srikanth lost the match 21-18, 17-21, 13-21.

After a hard fought second game, Tian breezed past his opponent, amassing five consecutive points in the deciding game. He then clinched the match in an hour and eight minutes.

With this win, Tian took a 2-0 lead over Srikanth in career meetings. Srikanth had lost to Tian in this year's Malaysia Open.

In the women’s doubles match, Indonesian fourth seeds Nitya Krishinda Maheshwari and Greysia Polii beat Jwala and Ashwini 21-14, 21-10 in 32 minutes to proceed to the quarter-finals.

World No.1 Saina Nehwal is scheduled to play later in the day.

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