Denmark Open: Saina Nehwal wins 1st round thriller; Sindhu, Srikanth also triumph
Odense: India's leading shuttlers Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth made a positive start to their campaign, reaching the second round of the USD 650,000 Denmark Open Super Series Premier here today.
World No. 1 Saina survived a scare before prevailing over Thailand's Busanan Ongbumrungphan in women's singles, while Srikanth saw off compatriot and Dutch Open winner Ajay Jayaram in men's singles. Sindhu also advanced after beating Indonesia's Maria Febe Kusumastuti 21-13 21-11.
2012 champion Saina had beaten the Thai girl at the Japan Open this year but those results mattered little as the two squared up in their first game of the tournament.
After the end of the gruelling contest that lasted an hour and nine minutes, Saina saw off Busanan 23-21 14-21 21-18 in the women's singles match. The World Championship silver medallist will next take on 2012 French Open champion Japan's Minatsu Mitani.
In men's singles, Srikanth was up against compatriot Jayaram and it was the former who came up with a better performance as he notched up a 21-10 21-14 win in a 32-minute match here.
The India Open champion will next meet the winner of the match between Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto and Japan's Sho Sasaki.
World No 8 Parupalli Kashyap, however, suffered a 14-21 15-21 loss to former World No. 1 and two-time Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia to bow out of the tournament.
In doubles, top Indian men's pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy, who finished runners-up at Dutch Open last week, posted a 24-22 21-13 win over England combo of Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge.
However, it was curtains for 2010 Commonwealth Games champions Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa as they lost 19-21 18-21 to seventh seeds Reika Kakiiwa and Miyuki Maeda of Japan in a 45-minute women's doubles match.
In the women's singles match, Saina took time to get off the mark as Busanan dominated the proceedings early on and opened up a 8-4 lead. But Saina clawed back at 9-9. The Indian tried to keep her nose ahead but the Thai girl once again wrested control at 20-18.
However, a gritty Saina didn't give up and eventually turned the tables and pocketed the first game after grabbing three straight points from 20-21.
In the second game, Busanan upped the tempo and once again surged ahead at 7-4. Saina tried to catch up but the world No. 17 Thai broke off at 9-9 and never looked back to roar back into contest.
In the decider, Saina held on to a 6-2 lead early on but Busanan caught up at 6-6 and then moved neck and neck with the Indian till 11-11. After the break, Saina changed gears and zoomed ahead with a five-point burst at 13-12 to move to a 18-12 lead.
The Thai girl narrowed the gap but could never bridge it as Saina marched on to the second round.