Saina Nehwal was on song in the second round of the Badminton World Championships, as she made short work of Soraya De Visch Eijbergen. The victory carried her into the round of 16 at a tournament where she's already picked up a silver and bronze medal in 2015 and 2017, respectively.
This time around, Saina will look to outdo her previous achievements by bagging the illusive gold medal! However, it won't be easy as the best of the best in the world of badminton will bring their A-game to the fore.
Saina was quick off the blocks in her second round encounter, with a barrage of well-angled drop shots that left her Dutch opponent stranded. These drops were made more effective by the clever use of occasional smashes. While at the net, her cross court drops were executed with pin point accuracy.
Very rarely was she required to play a high toss to the back of the court because her astutely placed attacking tosses were dragging Soraya Eijbergen well out of position, opening up the court for clear winners. All in all she played a perfect game, which was evidenced in a score line that read 21-10, 21-11.
Her opponent in the next round, Mia Blichfeldt, came through a relatively easy match against Lianne Tan. Blichfeldt has been on a roll in 2019 with some of the best results of her career. It will be interesting to see how Saina copes with the attacking game of the Dane. Of course, the bonus of having Parupalli Kashyap in her corner will add to her confidence and determination to make it through to the quarter finals.
Earlier in the day, PV Sindhu had a straightforward win over the Taiwanese, Tai Yu Po. She came through in straight sets 21-14, 21-15. Her power was too much for her opponent as she smashed her off court to enter the round of 16.
She will face Beiwen Zhang who is a seasoned competitor from the U.S.A., whose agility and deception will pose a threat to Sindhu's progress in the tournament. The American's victory over Sindhu in the 2018 Indian Open will give her enough confidence to pull off another upset over her higher ranked opponent. But, Sindhu is a fighter and in all probability will look to exact revenge for her loss to Zhang at her home tournament a year ago.
The round of 16 promises much for the two Indian stars. A victory in the next round will ensure two of the eight available places in the quarter finals, which in itself is a commendable result for Indian women's badminton!