World Championships: Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth, Sai Praneeth in pre-quarters
Saina Nehwal, K Srikanth and B Sai Praneeth enter pre-quarterfinals with easy victories; China's Lin Dan wins longest matches in history of tourney
India's B Sai Praneeth returns to Indonesia's Anthony Sinisuka Ginting during the BWF World Championships at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow yesterday. The Indian won 14-21, 21-18, 21-19. Pic/AFP
India's singles players continued to make progress in the initial rounds, even as five-time champion Lin Dan, seeded seventh, was stretched for 81 minutes by Emil Holst in one of the longest matches at the Total Badminton World Championships yesterday.
Lin Dan finally won 19-21, 21-8, 21-16 over Holst. Lin Dan's survival gave the fans a big relief after second seed Lee Chong Wei exited in the first round on Tuesday.
However, there was the shock exit of the top-seeded men's doubles pair from China, Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen at the hands of Indonesia's Mohammad Ahsan and Rian Agung Saputro 21-19, 18-21, 18-21. Also going out were fifth seeds, Malaysians Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong to Koreans, Chung Eui Seok and Kim Dukyoung.
Saina after her first round win yesterday. Pic/V Krishnaswamy
Tanvi Lad loses
In the first half of the day, B Sai Praneeth and Kidambi Srikanth won their matches in the men's section, but in contrasting ways. Saina Nehwal, the losing finalist at the last World Championships, scored a comfortable straight games win over a Swiss opponent, Sabrina Jaquet, but Tanvi Lad, the lowest ranked among all Indian singles players here, lost to No. 2 seed Sung Ji Hyun, who now meets Saina.
Starting at the same time as Praneeth, but finishing way before him, Saina outplayed Sabrina Jaquet 21-11, 21-12 in 33 minutes. Tanvi Lad went down to No. 2 seed Sung Ji Hyun 21-9, 21-19.
Straight win for Srikanth
Srikanth beat Lucas Corvee 21-8, 21-17 to set up a clash with 14th seed Anders Antonsen, who beat Fabian Roth in straight games.
On the first match, Saina said: "It always tough to play in the first round. It is never easy to play the first round (her first round). I have had some horrible experiences in the first round. It is always quite difficult for me. I always focus very much in the first round. The next rounds are not going to be easier because you are playing tough opponents, but the first round is always tough because you are stepping on the court for the first time."
Praneeth had to virtually pull out a rabbit from his hat after trailing 12-18 in the decider against a tough customer, Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia. Praneeth, 25, won 14-21, 21-18, 21-19 in a 72-minute battle.
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