New Delhi: Saina Nehwal won her opener to enter the second round at the $325,000 Japan Open Superseries in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Saina continued from where she left off at the World Badminton Championships, where she clinched a bronze, to beat Thai Pornpawee Chochuwong 21-17, 21-9 in 39 minutes. This was the London Olympic bronze medallist’s third win in as many meetings against the Thai World No.25.
However, Saina will be up against old nemesis and reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin in the women’s singles second round. The Hyderabadi has a 4-3 advantage in career meetings over the Spaniard but the two have not played yet this year.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa also advanced to the second round of mixed doubles as they beat Thai pair Tinn Isriyanet and Pacharapun Chochuwong 21-17, 21-13 in 35 minutes.
The Indian combine have a tough challenge ahead as they take on Indonesian fourth seeds Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto next.