Saina, Srikanth advance; Sindhu loses in Hong Kong Open

Hong Kong: Top Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and K Srikanth posted contrasting victories to enter the quarterfinals of the women's and men's singles competition respectively in the USD 350,000 Hong Kong Super Series in Kowloon here today.

However, it was curtains for teen sensation P V Sindhu, who suffered a three-game loss to lesser-ranked Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the second round of the women's singles to bow out of the tournament. Srikanth, who had defeated two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan in China Open Super Series Premier men's singles final on Sunday, faced stiff resistance before prevailing over his Thai opponent Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk 21-19 23-21 in a second round contest that last 39 minutes.

Ace Indian shuttler P V Sindhu
Ace Indian shuttler P V Sindhu suffered a three-game loss to lesser-ranked Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the second round of USD 350,000 Hong Kong Super Series in Kowloon 

Having opened up a 10-2 lead and then taken an upper hand at 11-3 at in the interval, Srikanth seemed to be running away with the opening game. But the Thai shuttler fought back from 5-14 down, as he reeled off six straight points to reduce the gap to 14-11 and then caught up the Indian at 15-15.

Srikanth, however, broke away from there and sealed the game at 21-19. The second game was a closely fought affair and the only time the Indian had an edge was when he earned four points on a trot to open up a 18-13 lead, but the Thailand player once against caught up with Srikanth. It was a neck and neck battle for some time again, before Srikanth, who today achieved his career best world ranking of 10th, held on to his nerves to take game 23-21 and wrap up the match.

On the other hand, Saina had an easy outing as she took just 31 minutes to outplay United States' Beiwen Zhang 21-16 21-13. The Indian now play sixth seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals. World number four Saina put up a dominant show throughout the match. Breaking away from a 5-5 tie in the opening game, she never looked back.

The second game also turned out to be a cake walk for the third seeded Saina and she won the tie rather comfortably in the end. Earlier, Sindhu, a two-time bronze medallist at the World Championship, went down 17-21 21-13 11-21 to Okuhara in a women's singles match that lasted more than an hour.

The only time world number 10 Sindhu faced Okuhara was in Badminton Asia Youth Under-19 Championships in 2012 and the Indian had beaten the Japanese then in a close three-game match but she couldn't do it this time. Sindhu was no match for her rival in the opening game as Okuhara led throughout after reeling off eight straight points at 4-3.

Sindhu narrowed the gap to 17-19 but the Japanese soon pocketed the game without much ado. In the second game, Sindhu changed her tactics and zoomed to a 6-2 lead in a jiffy and then jumped to 12-5 with the help of six straight points. The Indian maintained the distance to roar back into contest.

The decider begun on a competitive note as both the shuttlers fought hard for each point and moved neck and neck with Sindhu managing a one-point lead at the interval. But she crumbled after the breather as Okuhara registered 11 points on a trot to bang the door on the Indian.

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