Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal started her Olympics campaign with a win while the mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V Diju jeopardised their chances of making the knockout round at the 2012 London Olympics here yesterday.
Switzerland’s Sabrina Jaquet, the World No 65, proved no match for Saina, World No 5, as the latter romped to a straight games win in the women’s singles event. Saina thrashed the Swiss 21-9, 21-4 in 24 minutes in a Group E match at the Wembley Arena and looks good to move to the knock-out stage.
Asked if her experience of how to cope with pressure at the Common-wealth Games had helped her deal with the atmosphere of an Olympics, Saina suggested the two tournaments were significantly different.
“I feel it is a great crowd here,” she said. “And you want to play more.
“In Delhi I was put under a lot of pressure, but here in this atmosphere it’s lovely.
“In the first game I was really nervous, but then I felt better, and I started to feel more in control,” she added.
Saina started well in the first game as she took an early lead of 12 points. However, Sabrina earned earned a few points back but was too late and the Hyderabadi shuttler took the game 21-9.
The second game was completely one-sided as the fourth seeded Saina took an early 11-1 lead and finished 21-4 in just ten minutes. She will next face Belgian World No 55 Lianna Tan in her last group match who will be playing her for the first time.
Meanwhile, in the mixed doubles, it wasn’t a great outing for Jwala and Diju as they suffered their second successive defeat. The Indians lost to Danish Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl in straight games, 12-21, 16-21 in a Group C match.
Jwala and Diju, World No 13, were no match for their eighth-ranked opponents in the first game, losing it in 13 minutes. They put up a better show in the second but it wasn’t enough to trouble the Danes.
Jwala-Diju play South Korea’s Jung Eun Ha and Yong Dae Lee in their must win final group game on Tuesday. However, winning the game will not confirm their chances of making the quarter-finals.