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Swiss Open: Saina cruises into second round

Dev Sukumar
EXPERT COLUMNIST
Editor's Pick
779   //    15 Mar 2012, 09:57 IST

Basel: Saina Nehwal was stuck with the familiar role of carrying India’s flag after several of her compatriots faltered on the second day of the Swiss Open GP Gold.

The world No.4, who is looking to defend her title here, outclassed old foe Sayaka Sato with a degree of ease, 21-13 21-8, to set up a second round fight against Dutch veteran Judith Meulendijks.

The only Indians to progress along with her were the recent Austrian Open champions Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas. The men’s doubles duo had to battle a minefield against the Dutch team of Koen Ridder/ Ruud Bosch as they scrambled to a 21-18 19-21 24-22 victory.

All the other Indians bit the dust. Indian national champion Sourabh Verma, after a sensational defeat of Hong Kong’s Wing Ki Wong, fell unexpectedly to Korean Shon Wan Ho, 21-10 21-9. Parupalli Kashyap and Ajay Jayaram, both seeking Olympic ranking points for the lone Indian spot in the Olympics, couldn’t progress either. Kashyap was unlucky to draw the seventh seed Vietnamese Nguyen Tien Minh and went down 21-13 21-18, while Jayaram would’ve expected to get past Portugal’s Pedro Martins, but was found wanting in a 21-16 21-16 defeat.

Jwala Gutta lost both her doubles matches – the women’s doubles, with Ashwini Ponnappa, to Japanese third seeds Mami Naito/ Shizuka Matsuo 16-21 21-18 21-10 and the mixed doubles, with V Diju, to another Japanese pair, Shoji Sato/ Shizuka Matsuo 21-13 21-15.

Saina’s young compatriot and recently-crowned national champion PV Sindhu gave a good account of herself but could not get past the wily Dutch veteran Yao Jie as she faltered eventually, 21-18 18-21 21-19.

Dev Sukumar
EXPERT COLUMNIST
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 twitter.com/shuttlemania
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