Saina, Sindhu cruise past opening round rivals in Asian Games
Incheon: After guiding the women’s badminton team to a historic bronze two days ago, India’s top shuttlers Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu opened their campaign in the Asian Games individual competitions with thumping victories in the singles event here today.
Sixth seed Saina easily overcame U Teng Lok of Macau 21-10, 21-8 in just 20 minutes and lined up against her next opponent Iran’s Soraya Aghaeihajiagha, who dispatched Mongolia’s Khulangoo Baatar in straight games in another round of 32 women’s singles encounter.
Sindhu, seeded 8th, too had a comfortable 21-7, 21-13 first round victory in 19 minutes over Wong Kit Leng, also of Macau, to book a round of 16 clash against M Bellaetrix of Indonesia, a contest the lanky Hyderabadi described as “tricky”.
“It should be a tricky match but I am confident of doing well,” said the world No. 10, who did not want to look too far ahead to an expected clash with the top-seeded London Olympic champion Li Xuerei, who is also currently the World No. 1.
“I am taking it match by match and not looking too far ahead,” she said.
Saina said her easy first round victory was expected but things would hot up from round three.
“The first two rounds are generally easy but things would get tougher after that,” said the World No. 7.
If Saina sails through to the quarter finals tomorrow, she is likely to face second seed Yan Wihan of China against whom she has a poor 1-8 win-loss ratio.
“Yan Wihan is a very tough player. My record against her is not great as everyone knows. She is a very powerful player and plays deep in the court. Her smashes are steep. I have been working hard over the last 2-3 weeks (under Vimal Kumar in Bangalore) on my (on-court) movement. Hopefully things would go as per plans,” she said.
Two out of three Indian doubles combinations made their exit from the tournament, with only Manu Attri and S Sumeeth Reddy standing to fight another day.