Saina Nehwal emerged as the lone Indian survivor at the USD 600,000 Korea Open after reaching the prequarterfinals with a straight-game win over Korea’s Kim Hyo Min at the BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament here Wednesday. The former world no 1 Indian, who won a Commonwealth Games gold and a bronze at the 18th Asian Games this year, defeated Kim Hyo Min 21-12 21-11 in a lop-sided opening round contest.
The fifth seeded Indian will face a local qualifier Kim Ga Eun next. However, it was curtains for Swiss Open champion Sameer Verma and rising shuttler Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka. While Sameer, who had secured the Hyderabad Open title early this week, ran out of steam against Denmark’s Anders Antonsen, going down 21-15 16-21 7-21 in a men’s singles match, young Vaishnavi was ousted 10-21 9-21 by sixth seed Beiwen Zhang of USA.
Saina didn’t face much competition from her first-round opponent as she opened up a 6-2 lead early on and then jumped to a 12-3 advantage before slowly and steadily moving ahead to pocket the first game.
In the second game, Saina again moved to a 5-2 lead first and kept distancing herself from Kim, who tried to stay close to the Indian. But Saina was too tough for the Korean as she moved to 18-10 and then sealed the contest comfortably.