Guangzhou (China): Saina Nehwal on Wednesday started her campaign for an elusive medal at the World Championships with a crushing straight-game victory over lower-ranked Olga Golovanova of Russia in the women`s singles competition of the prestigious event here.
London Olympics bronze medallist Saina, who had reached the quarterfinals of previous editions in 2009 and 2011, brushed aside Olga 21-5, 21-4 in just 23 minutes to set up a clash with 15th seed Thai Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in the pre-quarterfinals on Thursday.
Saina has a 5-0 record against Porntip but the Indian will have to be on guard as past records do not count and such matches could turn out to be tricky sometimes.
Earlier in the day, P V Sindhu overcame a fighting Kaori Imabeppu of Japan to secure her place in the third round of the women`s singles competition.
Both Saina and Sindhu had got a bye in the first round.
Seeded 10th, Sindhu, who won the Malaysia Grand Prix in May this year, had to sweat it out for an hour and 11 minutes before she could prevail over unseeded Imabeppu 21-19 19-21 21-17.
World number 12 Sindhu, who made her debut at the World Championships today, will next take on the winner of the match between second seed Wang Yihan of China and Indonesian Belaetrix Manuputi in the next round.
However, it was a heartbreak for Ajay Jayaram as he suffered a straight-game loss to Pablo Abian in a 31-minute contest in the men`s singles.
World number 24 Ajay, who had stunned world number 12 in the opening match yesterday, lost 9-21, 17-21 against the Spaniard, who is ranked 88th.
There were more heartbreaks for India as men`s doubles pair of Tarun Kona and Arun Vishnu crashed out of the tournament after suffering a 15-21, 21-13, 17-21 defeat against 15th seeded Indonesian pair of Alvent Yulianto Chandra and Markis Kido.
In the women`s singles match, Saina was not tested in any way by Olga as she failed to put any pressure on the Indian. Although, the girl from Hyderabad faltered a bit with her net strokes initially, she recovered quickly.
Olga committed a series of unforced errors and even though she tried to engage Saina in rallies, the Russian never had the strokes to finish off the points.
He (Major Dhyan Chand) is inspiration personified. He became synonymous with hockey. He became the parameter of hockey by which other player's calibre is measured.
Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal