China Open: Sindhu, Sai Praneeth cruise, Saina Nehwal crashes out

Changzhou: Reigning world champion and title favourite P V Sindhu sailed into the pre-quarterfinals with a convincing straight-game win over former Olympic gold-medallist Li Xuerui at the China Open Super 1000 tournament here on Wednesday. India's top shuttler Sindhu beat China's Li Xuerui 21-18 21-12 in just 34 minutes to set up a clash with Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong.

Replicating her world championship form, the Olympic silver-medallist produced another strong performance to get the better of the currently 20th-ranked Chinese, who entered the match with a 3-3 record against the Indian. Men's singles players, Sai Praneeth and Parupalli Kashyap also progressed to the second round after notching up contrasting opening-round wins.

Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy too found a place in the pre-quarterfinals after crossing the opening hurdle. However, Saina made an early exit after losing to Thailand's Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the women's singles.

The London Olympics bronze-medallist lost 10-21 17-21 at the hands of the World No.19 Ongbamrungphan in a match that lasted for 44 minutes at the Olympic Sports Center Xincheng Gymnasium.

It was the former world number one's second successive loss to the Thai player. The 29-year-old Saina has struggled for form following her recovery from injuries. The Indian started her season with a win at the Indonesia Masters but has failed to reach another final on the BWF circuit so far.

In men's singles, world championships bronze medallist Praneeth had to battle for an hour and 12 minutes to get past Thailand's Suppanyu Avihingsanon 21-19 21-23 21-14, while former top 10 player Kashyap beat France's Brice Leverdez 21-12 21-15 in 38 minutes.

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