Saina, Arundhati reach pre-quarters in Thailand Open
Bangkok: Defending champion Saina Nehwal and rising star Arundhati Pantawane advanced to the pre-quarterfinals of Thailand Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament after notching up contrasting wins in women`s singles competition here on Wednesday.
World No 2 Saina didn`t break much sweat as she prevailed over Shih Han Hung of Chinese Taipei 21-11, 21-16 in a 29-minute match here.
The 23-year-old from Hyderabad will next take on Febby Angguni of Indonesia in the second round on Thursday.
Nagpur shuttler Arundhati, who returned to India`s No 1 position after two years, saw off Min Ji Lee of Korea 14-21, 21-9, 21-15 in a 45-minute battle in the opening round.
Arundhati will next meet the winner of fifth seed Sapsiree Taerattanachai of Thailand and Yeni Asmarani of Indonesia.
However, PC Thulasi suffered a 14-21, 17-21 loss to third seed Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand in another women`s singles match.
In men`s singles, Sai Praneeth B, fifth seed Ajay Jayaram, HS Prannoy, eighth seed Sourabh Verma, 10th seed Anand Pawar and 13th seed K Srikanth reached the second round.
Praneeth stunned 2003 All England Champion Muhammad Hafiz Hashim of Malaysia 21-12, 9-21, 22-20 in a match that lasted 47 minutes, while Jayaram beat Indonesia`s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito 21-11, 19-21, 21-9.
Prannoy defeated local player Nonpakorn Nantatheero 21-11, 21-19 in another match and will take on fellow Indian Jayaram in the second round.
Pawar also prevailed over Indonesian Riyanto Subagja 21-15, 9-21, 21-14, while Sourabh defeated another local player Khosit Phetpradab 21-16, 21-18 in another match.
Srikanth, meanwhile, thrashed Korean Hyuk Jin Jeon 21-17, 21-12 to also reach the second round.
In the women`s singles match, Saina was not tested much as her opponent Shih Han`s fight lasted till the sixth point. The Indian soon reeled off seven straight points to move to 16-7 and then comfortably pocketed the first game.
Shih Han tried to put up a fight in the second game and breathed down Saina`s neck initially but the Indian broke off from 12-12 and widen the gap to eventually close the door on the Taiwanese girl.