Tokyo: Thursday was a dismal day for world No.1 women’s singles player Saina Nehwal of India, after she suffered a thumping straight-set loss against unseeded Japanese Minatsu Mitani in the women’s singles second round of the $275,000 Japan Open Superseries.
Boosted by her victory against P.V. Sindhu of India on Wednesday, Mitani was riding on a giant-killing momentum on Thursday to defeat second seed and Olympic bronze medallist Saina 21-13, 21-16 in 40 minutes to end India’s competition in the women’s singles category.
On the other hand, reigning world champion Carolina Marin was made to work for her place in the quarter-finals of the Japan Open after the No. 1 seed Spaniard suffered a huge scare against an unseeded Sayaka Takahashi. Marin eventually worked her way to a tense triumph over the Japanese, winning 21-17, 15-21, 21-12 in 60 minutes.
In women’s doubles, Shizuka Matsuo/Mami Naito cruised to the quarter-finals without breaking a sweat after they were granted a walkover by top seeds Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi.
Meanwhile, in an all-Chinese battle, unseeded Tang Jinhua/Tian Qing outplayed No. 3 seeds Wang Xiaoli/Yu Yang in the women’s doubles second round, winning 21-9, 21-17 in 42 minutes. Interestingly, Tian Qing will take on her regular women’s doubles partner – Zhao Yunlei next. Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei who currently ranked world No. 8, were split up temporarily by Chinese badminton team prior to the Japan Open to enable them to try different women’s doubles combinations at international tournaments.