Fuzhou (China), Nov 11 (IANS) Leading Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal edged past her Chinese opponent Sun Yu 22-20, 21-18 to move into the second round of the China Open here on Wednesday.
Though it was a neck-and-neck affair, the top seed held her nerve to win the gruelling battle in 49 minutes.
In the first game, it was Yu who started in top gear, picking up four quick points. Saina, the defending champion, made a swift comeback to make it 6-7 but the Chinese surged ahead again.
Yu led 18-14 and looked all set to bag the opener. But the Hyderabad-born shuttler stormed back with four back-to-back points to make it 18-18. They were locked at 20-20 too but then Saina picked up the last two crucial points to pocket the game in the tie breaker.
In the second game, Saina carried forward the momentum gained after winning the first and was very quick to respond to anything that Yu produced. She led from the start and after some hiccups in the middle of the game, finished on a strong note, taking it 21-18.
In the men’s singles, Ajay Jayaram lost to World No.1 Chen Long 12-21, 11-21. The No.25 shuttler was hoping against hope to upset Long, who was just too good.
In neither game Jayaram looked like giving his opponent a scare. Long dominated easily and quite convincingly clinched the encounter.
It was a sad outing for defending champion Kadambi Srikanth too as he crashed out of the tournament after losing his first-round encounter to Hu Yun of Hong Kong 21-12, 21-18.
In the first game Yun led from the beginning till the end but Srikanth tried staging a comeback in the second. It was all even at 16-16 but then the Hong Kong shuttler pipped Srikanth to clinch the issue.
In another men’s singles match, Prannoy Kumar battled hard but ultimately lost against his Chinese opponent Guo Kai 14-21, 21-17, 19-21 in a first round match that stretched for an hour and three minutes.
In another women’s singles match, P.V Sindhu beat her Russian rival Ksenia Polikarpova in straight sets 21-14, 21-9.
Sindhu had it easy in the first game, and brushed aside Ksenia’s challenge. It was locked at 2-2 but then Sindhu led till the end. In the second game, Sindhu was a class apart. Though Ksenia managed to make it 5-5 but the Indian proved too strong and won quite easily.