Denmark Open 2018: Saina Nehwal stuns Yamaguchi after four years!
Nehwal upsets World No. 2 for the first time in four years to enter quarters; India's Sameer Verma makes progress too
India's Saina Nehwal defeated World No. 2 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan for the first time in four years to enter the quarter-finals of the Denmark Open yesterday.
Later, more good news was in store of India as Sameer Verma held his nerve to beat Asian Games champion Jonathan Christie to reach the men's singles quarter-finals. The ninth-ranked Indian let go of three match points in the deciding game before pulling off a 23-21, 6-21, 22-20 win over the World No. 12 from Indonesia.
Nehwal, however, won her second round match rather convincingly. The Olympic bronze-medallist, who has dropped to 27 in the latest world rankings, registered an easy 21-15, 21-17 win over second-seeded Yamaguchi. Nehwal, 28, will now take on World No. 3 and another Japanese, Nozomi Okuhara, in the quarter-finals today. This was Nehwal's second career win over Yamaguchi, who has won six times in the head-to-head encounters between the two.
Nehwal's first win against Yamaguchi came in 2014 during the China Open. Since then, Yamaguchi has enjoyed the upper hand against. The earlier two meetings this year — Uber Cup in May and Malaysia Open in June — also went in Yamaguchi's favour.
Meanwhile, it was good news for India in the women's doubles too. Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy beat the seventh seeded South Korean pair of Lee Ho See and Shin Seung Chan, 18-21, 22-20, 21-18 to enter the quarter-finals.
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