Badminton Asia: Saina, Aditi in women’s singles quarters


New Delhi : India’s Saina Nehwal and Aditi Mutatkar scored contrastinghg victories to storm into the quarter-finals of women’s singles while Parupalli Kashyap bowed out after a tough fight to leave the men’s draw bare of home challenge in the Badminton Asia Championships here Thursday.

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Top seed Saina breezed through her second round match against Julia Pei Xian Wong of Malaysia 21-14, 21-16 while Mutatkar, coming back from a knee injury, made it to her first quarter-final of the continental championship with a fighting 23-21, 21-11 victory over Hsiao Huan Chen of Chinese Taipei at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.

Also reaching the quarter-finals were Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas in men’s doubles and top seeded Jwala Gutta and Valiyaveetil Diju in the mixed doubles. Gutta and Diju beat Chinese Taipei’s Sheng Mu Lee and Yu Chin Chien 24-22, 21-15. They will meet Zihan Qiu and Qing Tian next.

Rupesh and Sanave outclassed Thailand’s Patipat Chalardchaleam and Thitipong Lapoe 21-14, 21-15.

Top seed Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia became the biggest casualty of the day when he was sent out of the tournament by Hsuan Yi Hsueh 20-22, 16-21. The Chinese Taipei shuttler will take on sixth-seeded Japanese Kenichi Tago, the finalist of All England Open Championships, in the quarter-finals. Second seed Lin Dan moved into the quarters with a 21-14, 21-12 win over Tien Chen Chou of Chinese Taipei.

Saina will next face another Malaysian Mee Choo Wong, seeded seventh, who got past Singapore’s Beiwen Zhang 20-22, 21-9, 21-14.

Saina, who had beaten Wong to win her first international title in the Philippines Open in 2006, took just 28 minutes to sail past the Malaysian.

Wong, who is coming back from an injury, was no match to a fleet-footed Saina in the first game. She made a slew of errors. Saina opened up a 5-2 lead and never looked back, playing some delectable drop shots.

She cruised to a 7-1 lead in the second game before Wong made a brief revival and took the lead for the first time at 9-8. Saina, however, again took control of the game after some keenly contested points.

“When I was down in the second game, I went for the rallies. I am confident about my stamina and could play the last four-five points without any frills.”

“I face a tough opponent next. She has beaten me in Malaysian Super Series, but I have also defeated her couple of times last year. So it is a fifty-fifty match for me.”

Mutatkar put up another gutsy performance and showed steely resolve to save four game points in the fiercely contested first game. In fact, Mutatkar was trailing in the first game, but she kept her patience.

The second game was a close affair with both players locked at 6-6 and later at 9-9, but Mutatkar slowly opened up a 15-11 lead and made no mistake in closing out the match.

“The first game was pretty close and I was finding it difficult to read her drop shots. But then I played some good strokes towards the end and that boosted my confidence. I kept telling myself that I can fight. It is my first quarterfinal appearance in Asian Championships and it has come after a two month injury lay-of,” she said.

Mutatkar, 22, will now face Chinese qualifier Xin Liu, who upset eighth seed Japanese Sayaka Sato 19-21, 21-7, 21-11.

Kashyap, who was playing at the same time at the far court, was not so fortunate as he went down to seventh seed Yun Hu of Hong Kong 16-21, 21-18, 13-21 in a marathon hour- long match.

Kashyap, who was India’s lone challenge left in the men’s draw after six players bowed out on the opening day of the main draw, looked in a better position to make it to his second consecutive quarterfinal of the tournament, but faltered at the final hurdle.

The Hyderabad boy, ranked 30 in the world, covered up initial deficits in the first two games, but lacked the penetration in the third when his smashes found the net.

In the women’s doubles, Jwala and Ashwini Ponappa lost to Indonesian Leiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii 21-18, 5-21, 17-21 while Shruti Kurian and Aparna Balan lost to sixth seeded Pan Pan and Qing Tian of China 21-10, 21-12.