China Open: Saina Nehwal, P Kashyap start on winning note
Fuzhou: Leading Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap got off to a victorious start by winning their respective opening round encounters at the $700,000 China Open Super Series Premier here Wednesday.
While women's singles sixth seeded Saina beat old foe Sayaka Takahashi of Japan 21-14, 19-21, 21-17 in 58 minutes to progress to the second round, Kashyap overcame Hong Kong's Nan Wei 24-22, 19-21, 21-15 in a marathon men's singles encounter which lasted an hour and nine minutes at the Haixia Olympic Sport Center.
World No.5 Saina took a 3-0 lead in career meetings over Sayaka and will next face Chinese qualifier and World No.239 Jinjing Qin. On the other hand, following his win over Nan in their first meet, World No.17 Kashyap will be up against another Chinese qualifier Song Xue Thursday.
Though Kidambi Srikanth also progressed to the second round, he had to oust compatriot and friend R.M.V. Gurusaidutt 21-11, 9-21, 21-15 in 48 minutes to level their head-to-head to 1-1.
However, rising Danish player Viktor Axelsen accounted for H.S. Prannoy, beating the Kerala shuttler 21-10, 19-21, 21-18 in 59 minutes.
Meanwhile in men's doubles action Chinese seventh seeds Xiaolong Liu and Zihan Qiu easily overcame Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth Reddy 21-12, 21-15 in only 37 minutes.
Later, Chinese eighth seeds Cheng Liu and Yixin Bao defeated Malaysia-India pairing of Vountus Indra Mawan and Prajakta Sawant 21-10, 21-11 in mixed doubles first round.