Saina advances, Sindhu out of India Open (Roundup)

New Delhi, April 2: While India’s best bet Saina Nehwal delivered a dominant performance to enter Round 2, there was stunned silence as P.V. Sindhu’s shot went into the net to give Chinese Shixian Wang the win in the opening round of women’s singles at the $250,000 India Open Super Series here Wednesday.

Eighth seed Saina eased past Austrian Simone Prutsch 21-7, 21-9 in 25 minutes to enter the pre-quarters where she will take on Thai Natcha Saengchot in their first ever match.

Earlier, Sindhu had entered the Siri Fort Sports Complex confident that her 3-0 win-record over the second seed will give her a psychological advantage. But that was not to be as the teenager was ousted by Shixian 15-21, 21-12, 10-21 in a marathon match which lasted an hour and nine minutes.

After trading the first two games, Sindhu was leading 3-0 but the reigning All-England champion displayed supreme skills to take an almost insurmountable 16-4 lead over the Hyderabadi. It was only a matter of minutes before the former World No.1 and current World No.3 reached home with Sindhu’s error.

“I made a lot of errors and that cost me the match. I am really disappointed that I could not give my best in front of the home crowd who supported me throughout the match,” Sindhu said.

Meanwhile, Chinese women were in a rampant mood with Olympic and defending champion Li Xuerui and former World Champion Yihan Wang registering comfortable victories.

But it was good news for Parupalli Kashyap struck prime form to cause an upset by beating Chinese sixth seed Zhengming Wang 21-12, 17-21, 21-12 in exactly an hour in the men’s singles opener.

World No.24 Kashyap was the underdog going into the encounter given the fact that he had not even managed to win a game against the World No.7 in their past two encounters.

“I have played him twice before and he is very good at anticipating the opponent’s strokes. So I kept playing at a faster pace and took a few risks and that helped me,” said Kashyap.

In the second round, Kashyap will take on friend and compatriot R.M.V. Gurusaidutt, who edged past Chinese Taipei’s World No.25 Tien Chen Chou 17-21, 21-16, 21-17 in 58 minutes.

Meanwhile, World No.1 and top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia only needed 24 minutes to drub K. Ajay Kumar 21-9, 21-9 to enter the pre-quarters.

B. Sai Praneeth also came close to capturing a Chinese scalp when he took the first game against seventh seed Pengyu Du and led for a while in the decider. But lack of experience cost the World No.47 important points as he went down 16-21, 21-10, 21-19 in an hour and four minutes.

World No.2 Chen Long defeated India’s hope H.S. Prannoy 21-15, 21-9 but Sourabh Varma got the better of Russian Vladimir Ivanov, winning 21-16, 17-21, 21-14.

IANS