Top seed Saina Nehwal began with a stutter but recovered just in time to advance to the second round of the Macau Open Grand Prix Gold on Wednesday. After narrowly losing the first game to the 44th ranked Hanna Ramadini of Indonesia, the World No. 11 bounced back to take the win, 21-23, 21-14, 21-18 in 1 hour 3 minutes.
Nehwal will next meet the World No. 50 Dinar Dyah Ayustine of Indonesia for a place in the quarter-finals.
Saina remains the only Indian in the women’s singles draw after the three-time defending champion PV Sindhu withdrew due to fatigue. Nehwal, who returned to the circuit two weeks ago following her knee surgery, chose to play to get back the feel of competitive matches.
Hong Kong Open star Sameer Verma exits
She was not the only Indian winning on Wednesday. In men’s singles, Parupalli Kashyap and B Sai Praneeth made it through to the third round even though the Hong Kong Open runner-up Sameer Verma bowed out.
Sai Praneeth has been in excellent form at this event and needed just 40 minutes to dismiss China’s Sun Feixiang, 21-12, 21-15. The World No. 36 had dropped just 11 points in his first round win.
He has a tough task up next as he faces the fifth seed Wong Wing Ki Vincent in the third round.
Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap, meanwhile, played his first match since the Denmark Open in mid-October. The 30-year-old, who got a walkover in Round 1, eked out a hard-fought first game and then cruised through the next to prevail 21-19, 21-8 over Chinese Taipei’s Chun-Wei Chen.
He will next take on another Taipei shuttler Lin Yu Hsien.
They are the last two Indians standing in men’s singles after the exit of Verma, who succumbed to an 18-21, 13-21 defeat to Indonesia’s Muhammad Bayu Pangisthu. The reigning Indian national champion was the star of the Hong Kong Open Superseries where he toppled the World No. 3 Jan O Jorgensen to make his maiden Superseries final.
The only Indian pair playing doubles at the Macau Open – the men’s doubles team of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy – had a great day. The third seeds overcame a second-set meltdown to post a 21-11, 17-21, 21-9 victory over Hong Kong’s Chan Alan Yun Lung and Li Kuen Hon.