Saina, Kashyap reach India GP Gold pre-quarters

Lucknow, Jan 22: Top seeds Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap advanced to the pre-quarterfinals of the $120,000 India Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament after easy wins at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium here Wednesday.

While Saina notched up a 29-minute 21-7, 21-9 win in her women’s singles first round match against Swedish Matilda Petersen, Kashyap took the same amount of time to beat Malaysia’s Yee Han Chong 21-10, 21-12 in Round 2 of the men’s singles draw which has 64 players. All other draws have 32.

World No.8 Saina was totally dominant in her match. She announced her intentions with a 6-0 lead against the tall Matilda in their first encounter.

The world no.117 just could not match the Hyderabadi’s speed and agility and Saina, taking advantage of that, tired out her opponent by making Matilda run from one corner of the court to the other.

The Indian finished off the contest on her first match point. Saina next faces Russia’s Natalia Perminova in the second round.

Apart from Kashyap, second seed Ajay Jayaram, third seed R.M.V. Gurusaidutt, fourth seed Anand Pawar, reigning national champion and sixth seed Kidambi Srikanth also progressed to the pre-quarterfinals of men’s singles after winning their respective second round matches.

Soon Huat Goh of Malaysia pulled off an upset as he beat French fifth seed Brice Leverdez 21-17, 21-18 in 44 minutes.

In mixed doubles, Malaysians Mohammed Lutfi Zaim Abdul Khalid and Fie Cho Soong also caused an upset as they overcame Jishnu Sanyal and Jwala Gutta of India 21-17, 20-22, 14-21 in 44 minutes. Despite winning the first game and leading the second 15-12, the Indian pair committed errors and gave away their first round match.

Jwala’s doubles partner Ashwini Ponnappa, with Tarun Kona, took the first round mixed doubles match as Gauri Asaji, partnering Vinay Kumar Singh, retired with a twisted ankle while trailing 10-21, 3-5.