PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal saw off Linda Zetchiri and Line Højmark Kjaerfeldt 21-10, 21-14 and 21-12, 21-11 respectively while Iskander Zulkarnan stunned Kidambi Srikanth 21-19, 21-17 in the India Open second round. The likes of Parupalli Kashyap, B Sai Praneeth have registered wins as well.
Sindhu started the match as the clear favourite and took the game beyond doubt after levelling points at 1-1 and 2-2 in the initial stages. Though Zetchiri came agonizingly close at 6-5, it was pretty much the closest she could get in the first game, as Sindhu won 12 consecutive points before the Bulgarian could win her next. It was just a matter of time for Sindhu from thereon and she soon sealed the first game 21-10.
Though Sindhu started the second game on the backfoot, Zetchiri gave her a sniff of a comeback at 4-4, which was enough motivation for the World No. 3. The Bulgarian staged comebacks at 6-6 and 13-13, following which Sindhu ensured that her opponent remained second best. After Zetchiri closed the gap at 16-14, Sindhu won five consecutive points to win the game and progress into the third round.
Saina Nehwal had an easy outing too as she ousted Denmark’s Line Højmark Kjaerfeldt in straight sets. Line hardly remained a challenge for Nehwal, who has been on a confident run of late after reaching the final of the Indonesia Masters, as it was a pretty much a free run for the World No. 12. After Nehwal equalized things at 2-2, she remained ahead of her Danish opponent throughout the first game. Though the World No. 42 closed the gap at 14-11, she never looked like turning the tables.
The second game was even more one-sided as Nehwal never lost her lead after gaining it 2-1 early on. Nehwal won five consecutive points at 4-2 and never lost it before sealing the game 21-11 and the match 2-0.
India’s biggest hope in men’s singles, Kidambi Srikanth, was humbled by Iskander Zulkarnan in the second round as the Malaysian won the match by two straight sets. The World No.3 didn’t look in the best of shapes as he remained second best throughout the match. Zulkaran remained on the front foot from the very beginning and although Srikanth came back to level things at 12-12 and 15-15, the World No. 85 kept his nerves to eventually take the lead with a narrow 21-19 win.
The second game saw a more determined and sharp Srikanth, who kept his slim lead intact after going in front early in the game until Zulkaran levelled things at 8-8 and 10-10. Both the players kept besting each other from thereon levelling points at 13-13 and 16-16 before the Malaysian shuttler won four straight points to take the match beyond doubt before eventually sealing off the game 21-17. The match took just 11 minutes to decide the outcome.
Sameer Verma and Parupalli Kashyap had tricky tasks ahead of them in the form of Tommy Sugiarto and Shreyansh Jaiswal. After giving Verma a tough fight in the first game that he narrowly won 21-18, the Indonesian ace came back to win the second game 21-19 and equalize the match 1-1. However, the World No. 30 kept his calm and finished the third game 21-17 to progress into the third round.
Will Saina Nehwal make it to the Semi Finals of India Open 2018?
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