World Badminton Championships 2017: Saina Nehwal becomes first woman to reach seven consecutive quarter-finals
Indian shuttle queen Saina Nehwal added yet another feather to her illustrious cap on Thursday by becoming the first woman to reach the quarter-finals of the World Championships for the seventh consecutive time. The 2015 runner-up came back from behind in each game to get the better of the second seed and World No. 3 Sung Ji Hyun, 21-19, 21-15 in a 47-minute pre-quarter-final contest at the ongoing 2017 Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.
She found her best range against Sung after struggling initially which should inspire confidence in her to keep her winning run going.
Saina progressed beyond quarters only once
Nehwal has made it to the last-eight at this premier global event from 2009-2017 that allowed her to build this incredible streak. The record validates the former World No. 1’s consistency at the shuttle sport’s most elite events.
Out of the six quarter-finals that she has played at the Worlds, she has succumbed to defeats at that stage five times. It was only in the last edition of the World Championships that the London Olympic bronze medallist was able to cross the quarterfinal hurdle and make it to the summit clash where she lost to Carolina Marin.
She will look to improve on that record when she takes on the 16th seed Kirsty Gilmour of Scotland on Friday for a place in the semi-finals for the second successive time. Saina has a 4-0 head-to-head record over the home hope which makes her chances bright.
There were other accomplishments achieved by Indian shuttlers on Thursday. With the Rio Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu and the Indonesia Open and Australian Open champion Srikanth Kidambi winning as well, this was only the second time that three Indians progressed into the singles quarter-finals at this prestigious competition.
The first time was in 2013 when Nehwal, Sindhu and Parupalli Kashyap reached the last-eight together. India finished with just a solitary medal that time when the teenaged Sindhu brought home the first of her two bronze medals.
This time with Indian performing far more consistently throughout the year, the contingent is aiming for multiple medal-haul from the World Championships.
While Sindhu takes on the fifth seed Sun Yu in the quarters, Srikanth will look to beat the World No. 1 Son Wan Ho for the third consecutive time.