Odense (Denmark) - Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal advanced to the quarterfinals of the Denmark Open Super Series Premier badminton tournament here Thursday, defeating Japanese Minatsu Mitani in the second round.
The third seed won 21-15, 21-14 in 20 minutes.
The scores, however, were no true reflection of the match-play.
In the first game, Minatsu surprised Saina by clinching the first 15 points without losing her serve, going 15-0 up. In an amazing turnaround, the Hyderabadi fought back to win the next 21 points, 20 on her own serve, to take the game 21-15.
The second game saw the scoreline behave in a regular manner.
Though the 22-year-old Indian led throughout, Minatsu stayed close. But at 17-14, Saina took the next four points to take the game and match away, entering the last eight where she will face either old rival Tine Baun of Switzerland or qualifier Lok Yan Poon of Hong Kong.
This was Saina’s third win over the Japanese in as many matches.
This is Saina’s first tournament since she won the Olympic bronze medal in London Aug 5.
Earlier Wednesday, Sourabh Verma overcame former World No.1 Peter Gade of Denmark, seeded six here.
The boy from Dhar, Madhya Pradesh, defeated Gade 21-18, 21-14 in 48 minutes and will face Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro for a place in the quarters.