NANJING (CHINA), August 2 : Saina Nehwal on Thursday entered the Badminton World Championships 2018 quarterfinals in Nanjing after beating Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon. She won in straight two games 21-16, 21-19 crushing the fourth seed Intanon. London Olympics bronze medallist was consistent throughout the game and led 11-8 at the mid-break of both the games.
Nehwal will now face Spain’s Carolina Marin in the quarterfinals after the latter beat Japan’s Sayaka Sato 21-7, 21-13.
“It is a very good win. She is known for deceptive game. Second game was going my way, but suddenly she played some difficult strokes, she was everywhere and made it 19-19. At that point, Gopi sir made a big role. He told me what to do and I followed that and the game turned in my favour,” Saina said after the match.
Earlier, on Friday, the Indian mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa also progressed to the quarterfinals of the World Championship by pulling off a stunning victory over the Malaysian world no. 7 combination of Goh Soon Huat and Shevon Jemie Lai.
Satwiksairaj and Ashwini, who put up an impressive show to help India win the historic mixed team gold at the Commonwealth Games, saw off Goh and Shevon 20-22, 21-14, 21-6 in a match that lasted 59 minutes.
“We ended up making lot of mistakes in the first game but we were more sure in the second about our strategy. We are very happy that we could stay focused and win,”Ashwini said after the match.
The World No. 40 Indian pair has a tough task at hand on Friday when it faces No.1 and top-seeded Chinese pair of Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong.
“We will give our best. We will come all guns blazing. But we can’t think too far ahead (about the medal), so the focus is on tomorrow’s match,” Ashwini said.
Sai Praneeth, who was quite impressive in his 21-13, 21-11 victory against Hans-Kristian Vittinghus of Denmark, will play Kento Momota of Japan on Friday.
Indian results (Rd III): Men’s singles: Daren Liew (Mas) bt 5-Kidambi Srikanth 21-18, 21-18; B Sai Praneeth bt Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus 21-13, 21-11.
Women’s singles: PV Sindhu bt Ji Hyun Sung (Kor) 21-10, 21-18; 10-Saina Nehwal bt 4-Ratchanok Intanon 21-16, 21-19.
Mixed doubles: Ashwini Ponnappa/Satwiksairaj Rankireddy bt 7-Shevon Jemei Lai/Goh Soon Huat 20-22, 21-14, 21-6.
Kidambi Srikanth loses
However, fifth seed Srikanth’s dream of winning a medal came crashing after he was outwitted 18-21 18-21 by the experienced Malaysian Daren Liew in a 41-minute clash.
“I had my chances but couldn’t keep the shuttle in. Too many smashes out, too many mistakes. I should have handled it much better,” said Srikanth.
(ZeeNews With agency inputs)