Saina romps into Swiss Open quarterfinals; Kashyap falters
India’s badminton icon Saina Nehwal celebrated her return to the world number two spot with a straight games victory over Bulgaria’s Petya Nedelcheva to romp into the quarterfinals of the 125,000 Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold Badminton Championship in Basel.
Saina, who is now only behind China’s Li Xuerui in the World Badminton Federation rankings, pushing Wang Yihan to the third spot, was at her fluent best from the word go as she never allowed her 23rd ranked opponent to settle into any kind of rhythm.
The India reeled off five consecutive wins at one stage to close out the opening game at 21-15. Nedelcheva needed to pull up her socks in the second game to stay in the contest but she was not allowed to play to her strengths by Saina.
The Hyderabad girl threw the early punches to move ahead from where she could dictate terms. The defending champion won four points in a row to put immense pressure on the Bulgarian, who had no answer to all her questions.
It was only a matter of time before Saina wrapped up the match at 21-10 in a contest that lasted just thirty minutes. The Indian now enjoys a 6-2 career head-to-head record against the Bulgarian.
Saina now faces Chinese Taipei’s sixth seed Tzu Ying Tai in the quarterfinal.
It is pertinent to mention that Saina has a 4-2 career head-to-head record against Tzu Ying Tai. Equally important is the fact that the Indian has lost the last two matches against her. At the 2013 Malaysia Open Saina lost to Tzu in the semifinals in straight games.
Meanwhile, most of the other Indians fell by the wayside. Parupalli Kashyap, who jumped to a career-high world number seven ranking, faltered in the third round, going down to Malaysian ninth seed Wei Feng Chong 21-18, 7-21, 16-21 in 55 minutes.
For Kashyap, Chong has panned out to be quite a bogey man – this was his third straight defeat against the world number 18.
Another Indian HS Prannoy, who sprang a major surprise when he shocked seventh seed Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand on Wednesday, went down in a grueling encounter against fifteenth seed and world number 26 Tien Chen Chou of Chinese Taipei 16-21, 21-15, 15-21 in a contest that lasted exactly an hour.