GLASGOW, Aug 23: A confident Saina Nehwal brushed aside the challenge of Sabrina Jaquet in straight games to move to the World Championship pre-quarterfinals, here today.
The 27-year-old London Olympics bronze medallist hardly broke a sweat as she cruised past her Swiss rival 21-11, 21-12 in just 33 minutes at the Emirates Arena. It was the second victory for Saina over Sabrina since the Indian had beaten her rival at the 2012 London Olympics as well. Saina received a bye in the opening round.
Saina had won a silver medal in the previous edition of the World Championship in Jakarta while Sabrine is a winner of a bronze medal at European Championships this year.
Saina is likely to take on second seed Sung Ji Hyun. The Indian has a 7-2 head-to-head record against the Korean and most recently beat her at the Australian Open in June.
Singapore Open champion B Sai Praneeth, who was playing on the adjacent court, survived a scare from 20-year-old Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, who is the 2014 Youth Olympic and World Junior Championships boys’ singles bronze medallist.
World No. 19 Praneeth bounced back from a game down to outwit the World No. 26 Indonesian 14-21, 21-18, 21-19 in a men’s singles match that lasted an hour and 12 minutes.
In the pre-quarterfinal, Praneeth will take on either Germany’s Marc Zwiebler or Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen tomorrow.
In the women’s singles match, 12th seed Saina stamped her authority right from the start as she zoomed to a 4-0 lead before extending it to 11-6. The Swiss tried her bit and came as close as 9-13 before Saina reeled off five straight points and eventually wrapped the opening game in 14 minutes.
In the second game, Saina once again opened up a 5-2 lead and had a 11-7 advantage at the interval. The Indian did not take the foot off the pedal and dished out a series of body smashes to surge to victory.
On the adjacent court, Praneeth was facing the fire of Anthony, who cruised to a 8-0 lead and then jumped to a 16-6 advantage. The gap was too much for Praneeth to bridge as he lost the first game.
The Indian got his bearing back and put up a better effort in the second game, reaching a 7-4 and 11-9 advantage at the break.
Leading 14-12, Praneeth had to take a medical timeout and when the game resumed, Anthony managed to grab a slender 16-15 lead but the Indian did not let the opportunity slip as he soon turned the tables on his rival to roar back into contest. – PTI