World Badminton Championships 2017: Easy win for Saina Nehwal, hard work for Sai Praneeth
Day 3 of the 2017 BWF World Championships 2017 opened with contrasting wins for two of India’s top singles shuttlers. The 2015 women’s singles runner-up Saina Nehwal needed just 33 minutes to breeze past the 36th ranked Sabrina Jaquet of Switzerland 21-11, 21-12 at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.
At the same time, the Singapore Open and Thailand Open champion B Sai Praneeth had a near brush with disaster as he came back from 12-18 in the decider to post a 14-21, 21-18, 21-19 victory over the 26th ranked Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia. The marathon match lasted 1 hour 12 minutes.
With this, India’s flawless record for singles shuttlers at the 2017 World Championships remains intact. All eight of them had won their respective opening round matches and now Sai is the first of the men to enter the pre-quarter-finals.
Sai had looked out of sorts for better parts of his second round match and struggled mightily against his young, talented opponent. He had a miserable start and trailed 0-8 before losing the opener, 14-21.
The two were locked in a tense second game which Sai held his nerves to eke out, 21-18.
In the third game, errors proved costly and the 15th seed looked listless as he let the momentum to be with the Indonesian. Ginting built a huge gap by cruising to 18-12 with Sai looking in dire straits.
But that is where the champion in Sai finally awoke. He steadily reduced the deficit and levelled at 18-18 before surging to match points at 20-18 on the back of eight consecutive points.
Even though Ginting did save one match point, Sai took the second one to complete his unbelievable comeback.
Thunderous start for Saina
Saina had absolutely nothing to worry about against Jaquet. The World No. 16 stamped her authority right from the start and opened up a 6-1 advantage.
The closest the Swiss came to Saina was when she made it just a three-point gap at 6-9. The Indian built on her lead to bag the first game 21-11.
In the second game, the former World No. 1 started accelerating from 2-2 and raced away to 6-3. Jaquet kept it competitive for a few minutes when she trailed the Indian 7-9.
After the mid-game interval, Nehwal allowed her destructive pace to take control of the proceedings and never let the Swiss in anymore.