Saina, Aditi keep Indian flag high

Saina, Aditi keep Indian flag high

Mens top seed Taufik Hidayat crashes out after losing to Hsuan Yi Hsueh

Saina, Aditi keep Indian flag high

In sync: India’s Sanave Thomas (left) and Rupesh Kumar in action during the Asian badminton tourney on Thursday.PTI

Top seed Saina breezed through her second round match against Julia Pei Xian Wong of Malaysia 21-14, 21-16 while Mutatkar, who is coming back from a knee injury, made it to her first quarterfinal of the continental championship with an impressive 23-21, 21-11 victory over Hsiao Huan Chen of Chinese Taipei at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.

Also reaching the quarterfinals were Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas in men’s doubles. The third seed Indian pair went past Thailand’s Patipat Chalardchaleam and Thitipong Lapoe 21-14, 21-15.

Top seeds Jwala Gutta and V Diju reached the mixed doubles quarterfinals after winning their second round match against Sheng Mu Lee and Yu Chin Chien of Chinese Taipei 24-22, 21-15. The world number 12 pair will next face Chinese duo of Zihan Qiu and Qing Tian.

The biggest casualty of the day was top seed Indonesian Taufik Hidayat, who was sent out of the tournament by Hsuan Yi Hsueh 20-22, 16-21. The Chinese Taipei shuttler will take on sixth seeded Japanese Kenichi Tago, the finalist of All England Open Championships, in the quarterfinals.

Saina will next face another Malaysian Mee Choo Wong, seeded seventh, who got past Singapore’s Beiwen Zhang 20-22, 21-9, 21-14.Saina, who had beaten Wong to win her first international title in the Philippines Open in 2006, took just 28 minutes to sail past the Malaysian.

Wong, who is coming back from an injury, was no match to a fleet-footed Saina in the first game. She made a slew of errors. Saina opened up a 5-2 lead and never looked back, playing some delectable drop shots.

She cruised to a 7-1 lead in the second game before Wong made a brief revival and took the lead for the first time at 9-8. Saina, however, again took control of the game after some keenly contested points.

“I face a tough opponent next. She has beaten me in Malaysian Super Series, but I have also defeated her couple of times last year. So it is a fifty-fifty match for me.”
Mutatkar put up another gutsy performance and showed steely resolve to save four game points in the fiercely contested first game. In fact, Mutatkar was trailing in the first game, but she kept her patience.

With her deft touches and supple wrists, Mutatkar kept the shuttle in play and waited for the right moment to score. The long injuries have not robbed the Pune girl of her touch. The second game was a close affair with both players locked at 6-6 and later at 9-9, but Mutatkar slowly opened up a 15-11 lead and made no mistake in closing out the match.
“The first game was pretty close and I was finding it difficult to read her drop shots. But then I played some good strokes towards the end and that boosted my confidence. I kept telling myself that I can fight. I played more rallies and that wore her out after 10 points in the second game. It is my first quarterfinal appearance in Asian Championships and it has come after a two month injury lay-off. I am mentally stronger now,” she said.Mutatkar, 22, will now face Chinese qualifier Xin Liu, who upset eighth seed Japanese Sayaka Sato 19-21, 21-7, 21-11.

Kashyap, who was playing at the same time at the far court, was not so fortunate as he went down to seventh seed Yun Hu of Hong Kong 16-21, 21-18, 13-21 in a marathon hour- long match. Kashyap, who was India’s lone challenge left in the men’s draw after six players bowed out on the opening day of the main draw, looked in a better position to make it to his second consecutive quarterfinal of the tournament, but faltered at the final hurdle.

The Hyderabad boy, ranked 30 in the world, covered up initial deficits in the first two games, but lacked the penetration in the third when his smashes found the net.
In other matches of the day, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa lost to Indonesian Leiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii 21-18, 5-21, 17-21. Rupesh and Thomas defeated Rais Md Uddin and Jabed Mostafa Md of Bangladesh  21-10, 21-2 in the morning session.
Tarun Kona and Jishnu Sanyal lost to Nguyen Khang Huynh and Hoang nam Nguyen of Vietnam 18-21, 21-12, 16-21. Also, Akshay Diwalkar and Arun Vishnu went down to second seed Japanese Hirokatsu and Noriyasu Hirata 18-21, 15-21.