Saina wins easy,Chetan dumped early

At the Gachibowli Stadium,the air-conditioning drift is raising quite a tempest.

Written by Shivani Naik | Hyderabad | Published:March 26, 2009 12:11 am

At the Gachibowli Stadium,the air-conditioning drift is raising quite a tempest. Saina Nehwal,who raced to her 21-6 21-10 win over Malaysian Chew Yen Daphne NG in a mere 21 minutes of her Indian Open first round,said it wasn’t quite the breeze the scoreline made it out to be. There were plenty of rallies,she just adjusted well to the little havoc the A/C was causing in the stadium.

“The drift is too much from one side,but I managed. It was tough in the second game,playing against the wind. You have to play the sharp shots and more at the net,rather than to the back,” she explained,sounding a little harried over the largesse of four extra points she offered in the second game.

The other Indian to successfully negotiate the drift and the shuffling shuttle was Aravind Bhat,India’s No 2 and ranked 28th in the world. Playing Chinese Pengyu Du in the first round in the morning,Bhat pounced on the inexperienced opponent’s struggle with the wind to put it across in a tricky 21-19,7-21,21-13 affair lasting three quarters of an hour. Against the Singaporean Yong Zhao Ashton Chen,Bhat had figured out his strategy,and won 21-10 21-12.

“Its not a disadvantage,just that you need to know your strategies. When playing with the wind,you smash and attack. If you try to hit it to the back court,the wind will carry the shuttle further and it will go out,so you don’t try the tosses or even jabbing very close to the net,” he explained.

One man who has seen too many of badminton’s storms during his mercurial career to crib about mere winds is Taufik Hidayat. The Indonesian,though,made heavy weather of his 18-21 21-18 21-19 second-round win over Yun Hu of Hong Kong. The scratchy hour-long match gave immense confidence to his opponent in the next round — Bhat. Having set up that marquee clash,the Indian isn’t too keen on worrying himself over the outcome. “No pressure,it’ll be a fun match. I want to play a good game and beat him at home. I’ve seen him — he’s not at his peak,but I’ll still have to play very hard. I had a good match against Du and that has given me confidence,” he said.

It all ended in a flurry of unforced errors from the back of the court for last edition’s finalist Chetan Anand,who lost 21-9 22-24 21-8 in the second round to another Chinese upstart Wenlong Zhou. “I misjudged the drift in the first game,attacked well in the next,but it became difficult again in the third,” the world No 12 said.

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