Top seed Saina Nehwal took 42 minutes to demolish China’s Han Li, ranked 39th in the world, 21-17, 21-13 to storm into the women’s singles quarterfinals of the Thailand Open badminton tournament at Bangkok on Thursday.
There was more good news in the men’s singles front as three Indians made it to the last eight stage. Young Turks B Sai Praneeth and Sameer Verma won in contrasting styles on their way to the quarterfinals. Praneeth rallied to defeat Malaysia’s Choong Hann Wong 13-21, 21-18, 22-20 in three tough games while Sameer Verma downed another Malaysian, Teck Zhi Soo, 21-18, 21-18 in 34 minutes. Sourabh Varma became the fourth Indian to book a place in the last eight stage after beating seventh seed Alamsyah Yunus of Indonesia 18-21, 21-13, 22-20.
However, it was curtains for 16-year-old PV Sindhu who fell to 2010 World champion Wang Lin. Seeded fourth in this tournament and ranked 26th in the world, Sindhu lost 12-21, 23-25 to the Chinese veteran, who is now ranked 105 in the world.
After a first round scare, Saina put up a better display against Han on Thursday. But in the first game it was a bit of struggle as Han kept the world number five on her toes. It went neck and neck till 16-all before Saina raised her game to win five successive points to wrap up the first game.
In the second game, Saina was in total command. Han put up a semblance of a fight at the start and even drew level at five-all but after that it was Saina all the way.
For Sindhu, it was a bitter exit. The more experienced Lin dominated the first game. Sindhu staged a remarkable fight back in the second. But the Chinese stopped Sindhu even though the Indian had a very good chance to close the match at 23-22.