French Super Series: Saina, Sindhu enter Round 2; Jwala-Ashwini ousted
Star Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal fought her way back from a game down to win her opening round match while compatriot P V Sindhu crushed her opponent to storm into the second round of the French Super Series here today. World number four Saina, seeded fourth in the tournament, lost the first game but rallied in a fine fashion to beat unseeded Nichaon Jindapon of Thailand 12-21 21-16 21-13 in her opening round match that lasted 52 minutes.
The Thai girl matched her fancied Indian opponent in smash and net play and Saina won most of the points through rallies. Saina showed rustiness initially as her Thai opponent did not allow her to take the lead throughout the first game.
It was a close contest till 13-10 before Jindapon won four points on the trot to take the first game. The second game was a tense affair till midway with the Thai refusing to yield to intense pressure from Saina. They were tied at 12-12, but the Indian surged ahead and won five points on the trot from 14-13 to run away with the second game and take the match to the decider.
The pattern repeated in the decider with both players running neck and neck initially before Saina breaking away from 14-13 with seven straight points to wrap up the match at the Stade Pierre De Coubertin. Saina will take on Yeon Ju Bae of Korea in the second round. Earlier in the day, Sindhu made a sensational start to her campaign as she crushed world number six Ji Hyun Sung of Korea in straight games.
World number 10 Sindhu defeated the Korean, who ousted Saina Nehwal at the Denmark Open last week, 21-8 21-12 in just 29 minutes. Sindhu, who exited the Denmark Open early, rode on her superior smash winners and deft net play to tame the Korean in a one-sided contest.
In women's doubles, the pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa went down fighting against Gebby Ristiyani Imawan and Tiara Rosalia Nuraidah of Indonesia in the opening round. Renewing their partnership after London Olympics last year, the duo staged a comeback after losing closely in the first game but was overwhelmed 18-21 21-13 17-21 by the world number 16 pair.
The Indian pair started well and had an upper hand in the first game at 17-13 before their opponents won six points on the trot to take the game. But Jwala and Ashwini put that disappointment behind to claim the second game. The final game, however, was fought keenly but the Indonesian pair relied on their experience to win it and enter the next round in a 50-minute battle.
In the other women singles match, Indian qualifier Arundhati Pantawane crashed out of the first round as she lost to Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand 17-21 21-16 14-21 in her opening round match. In men's singles, Ajay Jayaram and K Srikanth notched up wins over Japan's Kazumasa Sakai and Wing Ki Wing of Hong Kong respectively but their compatriots Parupalli Kashyap and RMV Gurusaidutt failed to cross the first hurdle.
World number 25 Ajay rode on his smashes and better net play to get across Kazumasa 21-16 21-11 in a 38-minute men's singles match last night. Qualifier Srikanth beat Wong 21-14 17-21 21-10 in a 47-minute first round contest to run into six seed Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand in the next round.
For Kashyap, it was always an uphill task to tame the top seed and world number one Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia and the Indian did play his heart out in the first game but the Malaysian still prevailed 22-20 21-12 at the end of the 37-minute battle. Gurusaidutt, however, could not put up a fight in the first game but he tried to make a comeback in the second before going down 9-21 14-21 to Chen Yuekun of China in another first round match.