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All England: Saina stretched on way to second round

Dev Sukumar
774   //    07 Mar 2012, 21:06 IST

Saina Nehwal stretches to return against Sapsiree on Wednesday at the All England Open

World No.4 Saina Nehwal ran into unexpected resistance in the first round of the All England, but managed to quell her spirited Thai rival in three games on Wednesday. Saina lost the second game rather tamely but fought back hard to end the contest in just under an hour against her feisty Thai opponent Sapsiree T.

The first session of the main draw saw the doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa dismiss the challenge of Indonesians Anneke Agustin/ Nitya Maheswari 21-16 21-16. After an easy first game for the Indians, the Indonesians remained level with them until 12, after which the Commonwealth Games champions powered ahead.

There was one big upset on the second day, with Dane Jan O Jorgensen, who has been in prime form recently, crashing to sixth seed Sho Sasaki of Japan. Another upset was that of world No.10 Du Pengyu of China, who was dumped in three games by Dionysius Rumbaka ofIndonesia.

Saina was too good for Sapsiree in the opening game, shooting to leads of 6-1 and 14-5 before the Thai got a look-in on the match. However, once she found her range in the second game, she made things difficult for Saina, and from 10-all, steadily increased her lead and took the second game.

The early part of the third seemed to be tight, but from 5-all, Saina used her power and experience to run away with the match and book a second round date with either Pi Hongyan of France or Carolina Marin of Spain.

Dev Sukumar
Dev S Sukumar is the recipient of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Media Award, 2011. He is India's most widely travelled badminton writer, having covered several international tournaments, including the Olympics, the Asian Games, the CWG Games, World Championships, the All England, the Denmark Open, the Malaysia Open, etc. He has covered badminton for over ten years now. During this period he has met fascinating characters, witnessed great matches, and has authored a biography of Indian badminton great Prakash Padukone. He has written on the game for several publications, including Sports Illustrated, Mint, Badminton Asia magazine, The New Indian Express, Hindustan Times, DNA and IANS. He tweets at
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