Saina, Kashyap enter quarters

Saina, Kashyap enter quarters
With home players making swift exits from the $250,000 Yonex Sunrise India Open badminton, Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap kept the Indian hopes afloat by clinching quarterfinal berths at the Siri Fort Sports Complex on Thursday.

While Saina went past the women’s singles second round for the first time in four editions, beating Thailand's Natcha Saengchote 21-15, 21-12, Kashyap overcame compatriot RMV Gurusaidutt 21-15, 16-21, 21-11 in men’s singles.

Both Saina and Kashyap, the lone surviving Indians in the tournament, however, face formidable opponents in the quarterfinals.
 
Kashyap will have to brace up for a gigantic challenge against World No 1 Lee Chong Wei, who will be meeting his third Indian opponent in the tournament. 

Lee had beaten K Ajay Kumar in the opening round and this day gave a badminton lesson to Sourabh Varma during his 21-9, 21-6 victory that came in mere 23 minutes.

Saina will be up against World No 2 Wang Yihan of China, to whom she has lost in seven of the eight meetings. 

The only time she survived Wang was when the Chinese retired hurt in Denmark Open in 2012.

On Thursday, it took eighth-seeded Saina a while to get the hang of her diminutive opponent.

Natcha, with her wristy returns and sharp net play, kept her on toes. Both conceded lead several times in the first game before Saina unleashed a series of fine smashes to gain control.

She grabbed six points on the trot to pocket the opening game and carried with the flair in the second to close the match in 35 minutes.

“I was playing her (Natcha) for the first time so it took me some time to read her game. 

As the match progressed, I was more aggressive and got better with my movements and strokes. I just hope I win this time,” said the 24-year-old.

“Tomorrow’s game will be tougher against Yihan. 

She is a very strong player. 
 
I hope my movements and strokes goes well. She will be very aggressive. I am playing well so I have to be really ready tomorrow.”
 
Saina, ranked eighth, believed she could soon regain her place in top-five bracket. 

“The last six months have been really good because I have been training hard. 

I am just waiting for a win and it will come soon. I know it is not going to be easy but I somehow feel I can get into top-5 soon.”

Kashyap, who has never won against Lee in three meetings, said he would do his best.
 
“Tomorrow it will be a big challenge. I need to be solid in my defence. He is a fast player so I need to control his speed,” he said. 
 
Meanwhile, former national champion Sayali Gokhale bowed to World No 5 Yeon Ju Bae 15-21, 8-21 while Trupti Murgunde lost to Indonesian Aprilla Yuswandari 13-21, 12-21.

The women’s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa lost to Chinese Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei 13-21, 19-21.


Results (Second round, Indians unless mentioned): Men’s singles: 1-Lee Chong Wei (Mas) bt Sourabh Varma 21-9, 21-6; Parupalli Kashyap bt RMV Gurusaidutt 21-15, 16-21, 21-11; Viktor Axelsen (Den) bt Suppanyu Avihingsanon 21-13, 23-21; 7-Du Pengyu (Chn) bt Sho Sasaki (Jpn) 21-19, 21-17; 4-Jan O Jorgensen (Den) bt Dong Keun Lee (Kor) 21-16, 21-11; 2-Chen Long (Chn) bt  Brice Leverdez (Fra) 21-16, 21-15.

Women’s singles: 1-Li Xuerui (Chn) bt Nichaon Jindapon (Ind) 19-21, 21-17, 21-16; 5-Yeon Ju Bae (Kor) bt Sayali Gokhale 21-15, 21-8; Aprilla Yuswandari (Ina), Trupti Murgunde 21-13, 21-12; Xin Liu (Chn) bt Xue Yao (Chn) 21-16, 21-15; 8-Saina Nehwal bt Natcha Saengchote (Tha) 21-15, 21-12; 3-Yihan Wang (Chn) bt Shizuka Uchida (Jpn) 21-8, 13-21, 21-12; 6-Ji Hyun Sung (Kor) bt Minatsu Mitani (Jpn) 21-17, 21-15; 2-Shixian Wang (Chn) bt Sayaka Takahashi (Jpn) 21-17, 20-22, 21-12. 

Women’s doubles (Indians only): 1-Christinna Pedersen/ Kamilla Rytter Juhl (Den) bt Dhanya Nair/ Mohita Sahdev 21-4, 21-9; 5-Qing Tain/ Yunlei Zha (Chn) bt Jwala Gutta/ Ashwini Ponnappa 21-13, 21-19.
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