Shanghai, Nov 13 (IANS) Indian shuttlers launched their campaign at the China Open Super Series Premier in style with Arundhati Pantawane and Parupalli Kashyap beating higher ranked opponents while Saina Nehwal eased into the second round here Wednesday.
Saina, who is looking for her maiden title in 2013, entered the second round of the women’s singles competition with a 21-14, 21-19 victory over Nozomi Okuhara of Japan.
The sixth seeded Saina started well in the first game, taking a 5-0 lead in the early stages. Although Nozomi fought back to cut the lead down to just a single point at 8-9, the Hyderabad girl continued to maintain her lead till the end.
The Japanese put up a good fight in the second game, fighting back from 6-10 to take a slender 11-10 lead. Thereafter, it was a see-saw affair with the lead changing hands several times but Saina held her nerves to prevail 21-19. She will face Sun Yu of China in the second round.
Later Wednesday, Pantawane outplayed Eriko Hirose of Japan 21-14, 21-18 in a first round clash. Arundhati was superior to her rival in the opening game, winning five consecutive points to take a 7-3 lead. Hirose never recovered from that setback as Arundhati comfortably took the first game.
The second game was a much more exciting affair. Although Arundhati took a 4-0 lead, the Japanese fought back to take a two-point lead at 9-7. The game continued to be closely fought before Arundhati won six consecutive points for19-14.
Though Eriko fought back with four consecutive points, Arundhati maintained the upper hand to clinch the issue.
In the men’s singles, Kashyap entered the second round with a hard fought 22-20, 21-15 victory over eighth seed Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand.
Kashyap had a shaky start to the first game, trailing 1-4 in the early stages before recovering to lead 9-8. However, Ponsana continued to put up stiff resistance and was leading 20-18 but the Indian won four consecutive points to take the opening game.
The second game started much like the first, with the eighth seeded Ponsana opening up a 3-0 lead. The lead changed hands a couple of times before the unseeded Kashyap won five consecutive points for 18-14. Although Ponsana managed to cut Kashyap’s lead to 18-15, the Indian won three points on the trot to wrap up the match.
The only disappointment for India came in the form of Anand Pawar who lost 21-18, 10-21, 11-21 to Takuma Ueda of Japan in the first round.
6-Saina Nehwal bt Nozomi Okuhara (Jpn) 21-14, 21-19; Arundhati Pantawane bt Eriko Hirose (Jpn) 21-14, 21-18
P Kashyap bt 8-Boonsak Ponsana (Tha) 22-20, 21-15; Anand Pawar lost to Takuma Ueda (Jpn) 18-21, 21-10, 21-11Published 13 Nov 2013, 20:00 IST