New Delhi: Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal notched up a comfortable straight-game victory over Hong Kong's Pui Yin Yip to start her India Open Super Series campaign on a positive note, here today.
The world number five Saina hardly broke a sweat and wrapped up the match inside half an hour, beating the Hong Kong girl 21-14, 21-6 to set up a clash with Koean Youn Joo Bae in the women's singles.
Aiming to qualify for the London Olympics, Ajay Jayaram and P Kashyap scored contrasting victories in their opening matches in the men's singles at the Siri Fort Sport Complex.
World number 27 Ajay Jayaram saw off compatriot Sourabh Varma 21-15, 17-21, 21-11 in a 55-minute match to keep his Olympic qualification bid on track. The Mumbai shuttler will take on world number one Lee Chong Wei in the second round tomorrow.
His compatriot P Kashyap also kept his hopes alive by notching up a comfortable 21-11, 21-14 victory over Belgium Yuhan Tan to set up a clash with Boonsak Poonsana of Thailand.
In other women's singles matches, Neha Pandit crossed the first hurdle, beating Malaysian Jing Yi Tee 21-18, 9-21, 21-19 in a 48-minute match, while P V Sindhu notched up a 17-21, 19-21 win over Chinese Taipei’s Tzu Ying Tai.
In men’s doubles competition, Manish Gupta and Gaurav Venkat prevailed over compatriot Sanjeeth S and Jagadish Yadav 21-14, 15-21, 21-15, while top Indian pair of Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas also reached the second round after their top seed opponents Jae Sung Jung and Yong Dae Lee of Korea gave a walkover.
However, it was curtains for world number 16 Indians V Diju and Jwala Gutta, who were looking to book a berth for the London Olympics. The Indian duo lost 18-21, 19-21 to Chinese pair of Tao Jiaming and Xia Huan in a 35-minute match.
Saina was in Command throughout the match as she opened up a 11-5 lead. Yip tried to claw her way back but couldn’t threaten the Indian as she surged to a 20-13. Although the Hong Kong girl saved a match point, Saina sealed the game comfortably at 21-14.
The 22-year-old Indian played some deft drops and sharp smashes and made her rival run across the court with good rallies. Even though she missed a few points, Saina never looked out of sort. After leading 11-5, the Indian conceded just one point before sealing the issue in her favour.
In the mixed doubles competition, Jwala and Diju started off slowly but had their nose ahead at 11-10 at the break in the first game.
They lost a few points but with the Chinese succumbing to some unforced errors, the Indians bounced back to join them at 15-15 and moved to 17-17, and also had taken a 18-17 lead. But a shot at the net and a couple of misjudgments cost them the game.
In the second game, the Indians opened up a 4-1 lead but the Chinese slowly clawed back at 4-4 after a wrong service by the visitors were awarded to them. Jwala struggled against the fast smashes of the Chinese and also her returns went wayward even though Diju provided good cover at the back of the court.
The Chinese moved into the break at 11-10 but the Indians came back to lead 17-14. But they once again blew the 3-point lead as the Chinese closed the match after Diju hit the shuttle at the nets.
Deeply hurt after the defeat, Jwala said she couldn't give her best on Wednesday as she was put off by the last-minute shift of her match.
"I didn't play well today. My match was shifted at the last minute without informing us. There were two more matches ahead of our match and it was me who went to the referre and asked and he gave us 15 minutes to get ready. Now can you hurry and warm up. It put me off completely," she said.
"I don't want to blame but why this lack of coordination. Such stupid things can happen in a small tournament, not in a super series. I hope such things don’t happen again. I couldn’t give my 100 per cent. Playing well and losing is different but you can’t win by playing horribly," she said.
Jwala, however, conceded that it won’t affect their Olympics dreams.
"I don’t think it will have any bearing on our Olympic qualification as we are not defending any points here. I have to put this behind and play in the women's doubles. I don't have an option," she said.
Jayaram said he was under lots of pressure before the match and he is happy to score win.
"I was under pressure going into the match. I knew it would be a tough match and I had to work hard to win it and I am glad that i could do the job. I tried too many things in the second game. Actually I was in a hurry to finish the match but I calmed myself down in time during the third game,” he said.
"Sourabh is very solid in his defence and it is better to finish off the match in two games. I knew that i have to take the initiative in the match," he added.
After winning his match, Kashyap said, "It was easier than I expected. I lost against him in the Austrian International Challenge last year. It's always good to be here and feel at home.”
"I am looking forward to tomorrow’s match, where I face Boonsak. I had beaten him couples of times earlier including the Sudirman Cup, Denmark Open etc and lost to him at Macau Open in a close match."
Among other Indians, National Games champion Arundhati Pantawane suffered a heartbreak when she lost 9-21, 11-21 to fourth seed Chinese Yanjiao Jiang in women’s singles, while RMV Gurusaidutt played his heart out before losing.
Tarun Kona and Arun Vishnu suffered a 15-21, 10-21 defeat at the hands of Indonesian pair of Angga Pratama and Ryan Agung Saputra in the men's doubles, while Gopi Raju G and Shivam Sharma lost 7-21, 15-21 to Malaysian pair of V Shem Goh and Khim Wah Lim.
Up against third seeds Chinese Biao Chai and Zhendong Guo, Indian pair of Mayank Behal and Manjush Mohan K K lost 9-21, 7-21, while in another match fourth seeds Mohammad Ahsan and Bona Septano of Indonesia taught a lesson or two to Sumeeth Reddy B and Hemanagendra Babu T, beating the Indian pair 21-12, 21-13.
Manu Attri and Jishnu Sanyal also fell by the wayside, losing 13-21, 17-21 to Adam Cwalina and Michal Logosz of Indonesia. Another men's doubles pair of Bennet Antony and Suraj PH also succumbed to a 17-21, 12-21 defeat to Korean pair of Ki Jung Kim and Sa Rang Kim.
Pradnya Gadre and Prajakta Sawant lost 21-19, 11-21, 10-21 to Duanganong Aroonkesorn and Kunchala Voravichitchaikul.
In mixed doubles, Pranav Chopra and Prajakta Sawant also suffered a similar fate as they squandered a first game lead to go down 21-16, 19-21, 11-21 to Japanese pair of Noriyasu Hirata and Miyuki Maeda.
Seventh seeds Japanese pair of Shintaro Ikeda and Reiko Shiota sent packing Indian pair of Arun Vishnu and Aparna Balan 21-9, 21-19 in a 29-minute match, while Akshay Dewalkar and Pradnya Gadre lost to third seed Koreans Yong Dae Lee and Jung Eun Ha 18-21, 15-21.
Manu Attri and Siki Reddy N also lost their match against Singaporeans Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Yu Yan Vanessa Neo 11-21, 21-17, 15-21, while Hemanagendra Babu T and Jyotshna P went down 13-21, 13-21 to Chinese pair of Hanbin He and Yixin Bao.