Asian Games badminton: Saina moves into quarterfinals

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

GUANGZHOU - India’s medal hope Saina Nehwal outclassed Malaysian Lydia Cheah 21-15, 21-17 to move into the badminton women’s singles quarterfinals at the Asian Games here Wednesday.

In men’s singles, Arvind Bhat moved into the pre-quarters after he received a walkover from Sri Lanka’s Niluka Karunaratne in his first-round match at the Tianhe Gymnasium courts.

But Parupalli Kashyap, world ranked 31, went down in the first round after putting up a valiant fight against world No.8 Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh 14-21, 20-22.

Second seeded Saina, who got a bye in the first round, raced to a 6-0 lead in the first game and held onto it, not allowing Lydia to draw close.

The Indian stamped her superiority, winning more points at the net and controlling the rallies. The Malaysian showed signs of resurgence at 6-9 and then 10-13, but Saina stayed ahead throughout to go 1-0 up.

In the second game too, Saina took a 6-1 lead with the Malaysian throwing in the towel early. Saina dictated the course of play and finished the match without much trouble.

The world No. 3 will will next face the winner of the match between Hong Kong’s Pui Yin Yip and Chinese Taipei’s Hsiao Ma Pai.

Kashyap showed his trademark fighting instinct to give a scare to Nguyen before going down to the fifth seed in 36 minutes.

After losing the first game, Kashyap came back strongly in the second. Down 9-15, Kashyap reeled off six points to narrow the lead. The scores were levelled at 16-16 and the Indian then nosed ahead 18-17, but Nguyen took four points on trot to put the pressure back on Kahsyap and finally closed out the match.

Bhat, world No. 43, next faces Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana, seeded sixth, for a place in the pre-quarters.

In mixed doubles, Aparna Balan and Arun Vishnu Sivarajan lost to Japan’s Shintaro Ikeda and Reiko Shiota 22-20, 7-21, 12-21 in an exciting first-round tussle that lasted 45 minutes.

In other matches of the day, Aditi Mutatkar will face Japanese Eriko Hirose while Arun Vishnu will team up with Akshay Dewalkar against South Korean pair of Yongdae Lee and Chung Jaesung in the first round of men’s doubles.

Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas will face Malaysia’s Kien Keat Koo and Boon Teang Hoon in their first round match.

Filed under: Badminton

will not be displayed