Saina Nehwal is lone Indian to advance at Australian Open

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Sydney:Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal notched up a hard-fought three-game win over China’s Sun Yu to emerge as the lone Indian survivor in Australian Open Super Series badminton tournament on Thursday.

Olympic bronze medallist Saina prevailed over world No.9 Sun 21-19, 19-21, 21-14 in an hour and 18 minutes to set up a last eight clash with China’s former world No.1 Shixian Wang, who moved past Thailand’s Busanan Ongbumrungpan 21-19, 8-21, 21-13 at the Sydney Olympic Park.

Defending champion Saina, 25, has a 6-5 head-to-head lead over 2010 Asian Games champion Shixian. And the Hyderabadi shuttler, who trains in Bengaluru’s Prakash Padukone Academy under the guidance of U.Vimal Kumar, will look to further improve her record against the formidable Chinese.

In the match involving Saina, the first game was a neck-to-neck affair as Sun brought out her best. It eventually turned out to be a thriller as Saina claimed the game 21-19.

It was the reverse result in the second game as Sun came back strong to take the game 21-19. However, Saina did not lose heart as she clinched five back-to-back points in the decider.

Sun tried her best but could only collect 14 points from the game, as Saina clinched the contest 21-19, 19-21, 21-14 in one hour and 18 minutes.
In the men’s singles round two encounter, Srikanth got off to a brilliant start pocketing the first game against Chinese Tian Houwei 21-18.
However, the world No.4 faltered in the last two games against Tian, who is six rungs below Srikanth in the rankings. Srikanth lost the match 21-18, 17-21, 13-21.

In the women’s doubles match, Indonesian fourth seeds Nitya Krishinda Maheshwari and Greysia Polii beat Jwala and Ashwini 21-14, 21-10 in 32 minutes to proceed to the quarter-finals.World No.1 Saina Nehwal is scheduled to play later in the day
In the decider, Saina didn’t allow Sun to threaten her in anyway as she led from the start and at one stage was comfortably placed at 12-4. Though the Chinese tried to erase the deficit, Saina made sure there was no more hiccups and eventually sealed the issue in her favour.

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