Saina Nehwal has brushed aside Rio Olympics gold medalist Carolina Marin 22-20, 21-18 in a hard-fought first-round encounter of the Denmark Open on Wednesday. On the other hand, PV Sindhu suffered a straight game loss against China's Chen Yufei to crash out of the tournament in the opening round.
Both Nehwal and Marin fought tooth and nail and kept exchanging points in the first game before the Indian managed to open up a slender 11-9 lead at the mid-game interval. The Spaniard, though, was not in the mood to let the game slip from her fingers and fought back hard to level the game at 14-14. After that, the game became more intense and the duo kept on exchanging points to level the game at 19-all before Nehwal prevailing with a 22-20 win.
The second game also began with a similar fashion as both players refused to give an inch to the other, but Nehwal once again opened up the lead and took that to her advantage to create a five-point lead soon. But Marin was not the one to accept defeat so early and the Hyderabadi realized that pretty soon when her opponent made a stunning comeback to level the game. But eventuality struck the Rio Olympics champion as she failed to pick up the pace in the last some minutes thereby gifting the game and thus the match to the Indian.
Meanwhile, Saina's fellow Hyderabadi, Sindhu failed to break the rhythm of World No 10 Chen to go down fighting 17-21, 21-23 in a 43-minute match. This is her second successive early loss in Superseries events as she also lost the second round of Japan Open last month. In the first game, Sindhu gifted a 3-0 lead early on but managed to reduce the deficit by restoring the parity at 9-9 before taking the game to 17-17. However, Chen stepped up to the plate soon and grabbed four crucial points to earn the bragging rights of the match.
In the second game, Chen again moved to a 7-3 lead and entered the break with a slender one-point lead. Post the interval, the Chinese extended the lead to 15-11, but Sindhu was able to reduce it to 16-17 securing five consecutive points. However, the Indian struggled after that in her pursuit to take the game to the decider. She saved four match points to make it 20-20 but eventually Chen closed out the match at 23-21 to avenge her World Championship loss to the Indian.
In a men's singles match, three-time Superseries champion Kidambi Srikanth made the light work of compatriot Shubhankar Dey and secured a 21-17, 21-15 win. The other Indian in the action yesterday, B Sai Praneeth failed to advance after slumping to a 21-10, 21-15 defeat at the hands of Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus.
HS Prannoy had a very good start to his campaign as he beat local player Emil Holst 21-18, 21-19 in a hard-fought match as the world No 15 recovered from a 6-11 deficit in the second game to register his third win over the Danish shuttler.
However, Indian doubles specialist Satwiksairaj Rankireddy suffered twin defeats in the opening round to pull the curtain down in her sojourn at the tournament. Mixed doubles pair of Satwik and Ashwini Ponnappa lost 19-21, 17-21 to Danish pair of Niclas Nohr and Sara Thygesen, while in the men’s doubles, Satwik and Chirag Shetty failed to get past Korean pair of Chung Eui Seok and Kim Dukyoung, losing 21-14, 18-21, 17-21 in the opening round.
Will Saina Nehwal make it to the Semi Finals of India Open 2018?
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