Free Press Journal

Saina, Srikanth sail in Sydney


Saina Nehwal

Sydney: Leading Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth won their first round matches in contrasting style at the Star Australian Open Superseries here today. While World No.1 Saina comfortably beat 67th-ranked Cheah Lyddia Yi Yu of Malaysia, World No.4 Srikanth pipped Hans-Kristian Vittinghus of Denmark in a thrilling decider.

The women’s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, too, made a winning start at the USD 750,000 event. Among the Indians who made a first round exit were P V Sindhu, Parupalli Kashyap and R M V Gurusaidutt, who took a game off World No.1 Chen Long.

Defending champion Saina, playing her opener late in the day, breezed past Cheah 21-12 21-10 to enter the last 16 of the competition. The second seed next plays Sun Yu of China.

World No.14 Sindhu, however, suffered a 21-18 15-21 23-25 loss against eighth seed Wang Yihan. Srikanth was the lone winner in the men’s singles, recovering to beat Vittinghus 14-21 21-8 22-20 in a match lasting 53 minutes. He plays China’s Tian Houwei tomorrow.

His compatriot Kashyap went down against sixth seed Wang Zhengming in a marathon match, losing 26-24 18-21 20-22. Gurusaidutt raised eyebrows by taking the first game from Long before the Chinese fought back to complete a 15-21 21-9 21-17 victory.

In the women’s doubles, Jwala and Ashwini dispatched the Dutch pairing of Samantha Barning and Iris Tabeling 21-13 21-13. Earlier, Ashwini lost in the mixed doubles alongside Pranav Jerry Chopra.