Saina Nehwal, Aditi Mutatkar advanced to the pre-quarterfinals of the women’s singles, while P Kashyap kept the tri-colour fluttering in the men’s singles event of the Asian Badminton Championship here today.
Ace Indian mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V Diju also entered the pre-quarterfinals after beating Hong Kong duo of Wai Hong Wong and Hoi Wah Chau 21-13 21-12.
In the women’s singles, top seed Saina crushed Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand 21-10 21-13 in 24 minutes to set up a date with Julia Pei Xian Wong of Malaysia in the pre-quarters on Thursday.
"I have played her before and even lost to her close match but I didn’t expect it will be so easy today. My strokes have improved and my defense was also good today," Saina said after the victory.
"I am playing Julia next and she is also a good player and I have lost against her once and have defeated her also in 2006 Phillipines Open. She is coming from injury so she won’t be in her top form," added Sania about her next encounter.
Aditi saw off Singaporean Mingtian Fu 21-11 17-21 21-18 in the first round to set up a clash with Chinese Taipei’s Hsiao Huan Chen.
Aditi said she was desperate for a win and it has given her a lot of confidence.
"I had my rehabilitation in Pune and it was very important for me to keep winning. This win has been very encouraging for me as I move ahead to the next round. I am not looking into the future. I just want to take each round, each tournament at a time. The competition here is tough so it will be difficult," she said.
Meanwhile in men’s singles category, Kashyap was the lone Indian standing after he won both his matches of the day to reach the last 16 stage.The Andhra Pradesh lad defeated Hong Kong’s Wing Ki Wong 21-14 21-15 in the first match before beating Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia 21-14 21-16 in the next.
"I moved fast and was aggressive from the start. I didn’t get tired and was fit all through out the match which helped me to play long rallies. He couldn’t follow my game. I have played him thrice and had lost some very close matches. I am happy I won today," Kashyap said after the win.
However, it was curtains for his compatriots Arvind Bhat, Anup Sridhar, RMV Gurusaidutt, Ajay Jayaram and K Nandagopal.Anup had a good start to the tournament, winning the first round against Ye Wook Rho of Korea 16-21 21-13 21-8 but he ran out of steam in the next against Malaysian Chong Chieh Lok and lost 19-21 15-21. Living with injury for the last two years, Anup said he was not able to match up with the fitness of his opponent.
"I thought I was fit but I couldn’t match up with his fitness. I was getting tired every now and then. If I had played a slow game it might have suited me but since I was not able to play long rallies, I tried to get quick points and ended up making many unforced errors," he said.
Arvind, seeded 16th, also started the proceedings on a positive note, notching up a win against Bikash Shrestha of Nepal 21-14 21-11 but Korean Ji Hoon Hong cut short his journey beating the Indian 15-21 21-13 6-21.
Disappointed at his early exit, Arvind, who was returning from an ankle injury, said he was not feeling at his best."I was not feeling strong enough especially after coming out of injury, so some of my shots lacked power which helped him to smash me hard. He was good at his defence," he said.
"After my ankle injury I trained for two weeks and went to the Dutch Open. Now I have three weeks to go before the Thomas Cup. I want to be completely fit in this time," Arvind added.
Gurusaidutt was slow in his shots and lost 19-21 22-20 19-21, while Ajay squandered a lead to succumb to a 21-14 13-21 17-21 loss in the first round. Nandagopal also could not cross the first hurdle and lost 15-21 15-21 to Indonesian Nugroho Andi Saputro.
There was disappointment in the women’s category too as Trupti Murgunde, Neha Pandit and Sayali Gokhale hit a dead end after losing their respective first round matches.
Truipti lost 17-21 12- 21 to Julia Pei Xian Wong of Malaysia, while Neha went down 14-21 19-21 to another Malaysian Lydia Li Ya Cheah in a 27-minute encounter.
On the contrary Sayali’s was a heart-breaking one as she lost 11-21 21-9 18-21 at the hands of Beiwen Zhang in a tough 40-minute affair.Top seed Taufik Hidayat and second seed Lin Dan also reached the pre-quarterfinals after winning their respective first and second round matches.
Hidayat made light work of Nepalese qualifier Indra Mehata 21-6 21-9 in the first round and then beat Ha Anh Le of Vietnam 21-10 21-16 in the next. The Indonesian star will next face Hsuan Yi Hsueh of Chinese Taipei on Thursday.
Dan, meanwhile, beat Suppanyu Avihingsanon of Thailand 21-11 21-14 in his first round match before getting past local challenger Anand Pawar 21-14 21-12. He will next face Tien Chen Chou of Chinese Taipei.In the mixed doubles category, new pair Jishnu Sanyal and Jyotshna P lost 14-21 9-21 to Korean combo of Sang Hoon Han and Ye Na Jang while Tarun Kona and Shruti Kurian lost 9-21 9-21 against fifth seed Indonesian pair of Devin LF and Liliyana.