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India Open: Saina sails through; Jwala-Diju fall early

Saina Nehwal was supreme yesterday in every aspect as she tantalised and tortured Hong Kong’s Yip Pui Yin, hammering her into submission in just 34 minutes in the opening round of the India Open Super Series here. Looking a trimmer and fitter version of her former self, Saina, was all over the place and emerged a 21-14, 21-6 winner.


India’s Saina Nehwal returns to Hong Kong’s Yip Pui Yin at the India Open in New Delhi yesterday.

Head-to-head
Yip Pui Yin is no pushover and has in fact, beaten the Indian a few times earlier, though Saina had emerged victorious in all three of their last meetings. This was the first time though that the Hyderabadi dominated the encounter in an awesome exhibition of power, confidence and craft.

“I am feeling lighter on court and feel good. These matches are never easy and I was a bit lucky that I caught her off guard many times. Pui Yin is never easy to play. I’m happy to have started the tournament well,” Saina said.

Coach P Gopichand was pleased too. “As I said yesterday, we have worked hard and she has lost weight but not her strength. But we have to take one match at a time and see how it goes. “Today was good. She was sharp and moved well. Let’s see now what happens tomorrow,” he said.

The Indian team had more reason to rejoice as as 17-year-old India No 2 PV Sindhu pulled off a superb win over her old nemesis Tai Tze Ying of Taipei in straight games 21-17, 21-19 in 47 minutes. Among the men, Ajay Jayaram saw off compatriot Sourabh Varma 21-15, 17-21, 21-11, while P Kashyap beat Belgium’s Yuhan Tanup 21-11, 21-14.

The tall Sindhu (5 feet, 9 inches) had lost to Ying at this year’s All England Championships. And though the teenager still has to work on her leg muscles as she is slow in recovering after being forced to lift drops, her strength lies in her overhead strokes that have sharp angles.

“I lost a close match to Ying at Birmingham in March and was waiting to play her again. I’m happy the match was played in front of my home crowd as their support gave me confidence,” said Sindhu.

Jwala-Diju stunned
Meanwhile, Jwala Gutta’s dream of Olympic qualification in the mixed doubles suffered a setback however as she and V Diju were bundled out in two games 18-21, 19-21 by the Chinese combination of Jiaming-Huan.

They will have to now wait for another day, when the new rankings are released, to know where they exactly stand. In the ladies doubles, Jwala and Ashwini Ponappa got a walkover and a victory in their next round should be enough for them to qualify for the London Olympics.  

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