Saina, Sindhu advance; Saina to face Thulasi in round two

Saina, Sindhu advance; Saina to face Thulasi in round two

Ace 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 USD 750,000 Star Australian Super Series here today.

Saina will now take on compatriot P C Thulasi, who hardly had to break a sweat to overcome USA's Jamie Subandhi 21-16 21-18 in another women's singles first round match.

World No. 9 Saina, seeded sixth in the tournament, lost the first game, but rallied in a fine fashion to beat her unseeded Chinese rival Sun Yu 22-24 21-17 21-10 in her opening round match that lasted an hour and 15 minutes.

The first round was a neck-and-neck battle and till 22-22 it could have been anyone's game, but it was the Chinese who won two crucial points to snatch it 24-22 in the end.

In the second game, the Indian started off brilliantly, surging ahead with a 8-0 lead before the Chinese fought back and managed to catch her at 13-13. It was a tense battle for some time to follow, but eventually Saina managed to have the last laugh.

The decider turned out to be a cake walk for India's Olympic bronze medallist shuttler.

Eighth seeded Sindhu, meanwhile, had an easy outing against her unseeded Japanese opponent Aya Ohori, who she defeated 21-16 21-14 in just 31 minutes to set up a second round clash with Nichaon Jindapon of Thailand.

It was a mixed results for the Indians in the men's singles first round, as World no. 77 B Sai Praneeth brushed aside local shuttler Hoe Keat Oon 21-7 21-11, but HS Pranoy crashed out of the tournament after losing 14-21-18-21 to eighth seeded German Marc Zwiebler. 

Praneeth will square up with Chinese sixth seed Zhengming Wang in the second round.Meanwhile, it was a bad day for the Indian doubles pairs as five of them became first round victims.

The lone Indian pair to cross the first round hurdle was men's doubles duo of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar, who got the better of Singaporean combo Yong Kai Terry Hee and Zi Liang Derek Wong 21-16 21-16 in less than half-an-hour.

However, it was curtains for another men's doubles pair of Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy B, who were thrashed 17-21 11-21 by seventh seeds Haifeng Fu and Nan Zhang of China.

India's campaign got over in the women's doubles and mixed doubles categories.

In the mixed doubles, local combination of Ross Smith and Renuga Veeran edged out Arun Vishnu and Aparna Balan 23-21 20-22 24-22 in a 46-minute contest, while second seeded Chinese pair of Chen Xu and Jin Ma defeated Manu Attri and Siki Reddy 21-17 21-16.

Akshay Dewalkar and Pradnya Gadre were also shown the door by Hong Kong's Yun Lung Chan and Ying Suet Tse as they lost 16-21 14-21.

Indian women's doubles pair of Pradnya Gadre and Siki Reddy, too, went down 17-21 21-19 10-21 to eighth seeds Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth and Rizki Amelia Pradipta of Indonesia. 

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