On a day of poor crowd turnout, Saina Nehwal nevertheless put aside a generally poor run of form to breeze into the pre-quarterfinals of the Syed Modi International India Grand Prix Gold tournament. Saina outclassed Sweden’s Matilda Peterson 21-7, 21-9 in a matter of 27 minutes in the first round on Wednesday and will now face Natalia Perminova of Russia in the pre-quarters.
Men’s singles top seed P Kashyap also enjoyed a winning start as he got the better of Yee Han Chong of Malaysia 21-10, 21-12 in his second round match to reach the pre-quarters as well. Kashyap’s victory too laste just about 30 minutes.
Saina exercised thorough domination, as can be expected against an opponent ranked 117 in the world, and had gained an initial lead of 6-0 in the first game and won it 21-7 with a powerful smash. The Swede could not match up to the speed and stamina of Saina as the Indian took full advantage. In the second game, Matilda put up a bit of a challenge at the beginning, but at 5-3, Saina took control once more, making her opponent run from one corner of the court to another. In the end, the win came at a canter.
When asked whether the result helped her put behind a poor run of form, the World No. 8 said she her movements were better and she hoped to improve day by day. “I can just hope that I do well tomorrow also. My movements were good. But every match is different and one has to plan accordingly. No match is easy at the international level. I can just try to give my 100 per cent,” said Saina after the game.
It was a day that saw most seeded players perform well. Second seed PV Sindhu also triumphed in her first round match, defeating Li Lian Yang of Malaysia 21-19, 24-22. She now faces Swiss Sabrina Jaquet who beat Trupti Murgunde 21-17, 21-14.
Ajay Jairam and RMV Gurusaidutt too reached the pre-quarters. In a mixed doubles match, the Malaysian pair of Lutfi Zaim Abdul Khalid and Fie Cho Soong of Malaysia defeated the Indian pair of Jishnu Sanyal and Jwala Gutta 17-21, 22-20, 21-14.