Saina, Anand keep Indian hopes alive


HYDERABAD, 12 AUG: India’s Saina Nehwal and Chetan Anand entered the singles pre-quarterfinals of the World Badminton Championships even as Parupalli Kashyap put up a brave fight against second seed Jin Chen of China before bowing out in the second round here today. Saina, who has stepped on the court after recovering from chicken-pox, showed no signs of tiredness as she dispatched Anastasia Prokopenko of Russia 21-10, 21-17 in just 27 minutes. Anand, seeded 15th, defeated Bulgaria’s Stilian Makarski 21-9, 21-7 in 28 minutes. Kashyap looked like pulling off a big upset when he took the first game, but then slipped into a streak of errors and went down 21-14, 10-21, 7-21.

In the men’s doubles, Akshay Dewalkar and Jishnu Sanyal lost to 16th seed Russian pair of Vitalij Durkin and Alexandr Nikolaenko 21-17, 13-21, 18-21 in the second round.

Later, Aparna Balan and Shruti Kurian lost their second round match 16-21, 16-21 to second seed Chinese Shu Cheng and Yunlei Zhao. All the men’s top players advanced to the third round without much scare.

Top seed Lee Chong Wei beat Ola Fagbemi of Nigeria 21-11, 21-14 while Denmark’s Peter Gade defeated Japan’s Sho Sasaki 21-11, 21-12. Sixth seeded Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia prevailed over Przemyslaw Wacha of Poland 21-12, 21-13. Women’s top seed Zhou Mi defeated Michelle Chan Ky 21-11, 21-15 in 27 minutes. In the third round, Saina will face 10th seeded Petya Nedelcheva of Bulgaria.
Organisers bank on Nehwal

The organisers of the tournament are banking on Nehwal to draw home crowd to Gachibowli’s Balayogi Stadium which was sparsely populated on the first two days. Saina in her first match today, managed to attract a sizeable number of fans to the indoor arena.

The organisers are hoping for a much improved attendance in the remaining days as Saina is expected to go far in the championships. The season tickets, priced at Rs 9,500 (gold class), Rs 6,000 (silver) and Rs 4,800 (bronze) for the entire tournament, were sold online. The prices were later slashed to Rs 3,500 (deluxe) and Rs 2,500 (standard).

Two Austrians slip away
Two Austrian players have pulled out of the World Badminton Championships and quietly left the city without informing the organisers. The players, Juargen Koch and Peter Zauner, are surmised to have feared security threat and Swine Flu. Koch and Zauner Wednesday gave a walkover to sixth-seeded Danish pair Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen in the men’s doubles second round. Another Austrian player Michael Lahnsteiner and a coach, however, preferred to stay back.


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