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Saina Nehwal, Arundhati Pantawane, Kashyap make it to 2nd round in China Open

Saina, who is looking for her maiden title in 2013, entered the second round of the women’s singles competition with a 21-14, 21-19 victory over Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in a 39-minute opening match.

Olympic bronze medallist Saina relied on her net game to outclass Nozomi as she registered 19 net winners compared to 11 by the Japanese.

The 23-year-old Indian will next take on China's Sun Yu in the prequarterfinals.

Saina Nehwal
Saina Nehwal gestures during her game against Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the women's singles first round at the China Open badminton tournament in Shanghai on Wednesday. Pic/AFP

Saina, who had beaten Nozomi in Malaysia Open earlier this year, didn't give the Japanese any chance in the first game as she jumped to a 5-2 lead and then kept extending it to zoom ahead. 

In the second game, Saina enjoyed a 10-6 lead but Nozomi reeled off four points to catch up with the Indian. What ensued next was a tough battle for supremacy but it was the world number seven Indian who had the last laugh in the end.

Later Wednesday, Arundhati Pantawane outplayed Eriko Hirose of Japan 21-14, 21-18 in a first round clash. Arundhati was superior to her rival in the opening game, winning five consecutive points to take a 7-3 lead. Hirose never recovered from that setback as Arundhati comfortably took the first game.

The second game was a much more exciting affair. Although Arundhati took a 4-0 lead, the Japanese fought back to take a two-point lead at 9-7. The game continued to be closely fought before Arundhati won six consecutive points for19-14.

Though Eriko fought back with four consecutive points, Arundhati maintained the upper hand to clinch the issue.

World number 12 Kashyap recorded his fourth victory over the eighth ranked Thai Boonsak Ponsana when he beat him 22-20 21-15 in men's singles opening round match that lasted 46 minutes.

Kashyap matched his higher ranked rival with his smashes and outdid him in net play to earn a place in the second round, where he will meet Japan's Kento Momota tomorrow.

From 1-4 deficit, Kashyap turned the tables on Boonsak, opening up a slender 9-8 lead. The duo fought hard for each point till 14-14 when Boonsak moved to 16-14 and managed to keep his lead, but the Indian exploded in the final moments, reeling off four straight points to pocket the first game.

In the second game too, Boonsak held an early 3-0 lead but Kashyap soon surged ahead at 6-4. The lead changed hands till 14-14, before the Indian once again raised his game and broke free, capturing four points and three points on the trot. 

The only disappointment for India came in the form of Anand Pawar who lost 21-18, 10-21, 11-21 to Takuma Ueda of Japan in the first round.

Results:
Women’s singles:
6-Saina Nehwal bt Nozomi Okuhara (Jpn) 21-14, 21-19; Arundhati Pantawane bt Eriko Hirose (Jpn) 21-14, 21-18

Men’s singles:
P Kashyap bt 8-Boonsak Ponsana (Tha) 22-20, 21-15; Anand Pawar lost to Takuma Ueda (Jpn) 18-21, 21-10, 21-11

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