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Saina, Sindhu win; Jwala-Ashwini, Manu-Sumeeth lose openers

Saina Jwala

Rio de Janeiro: London Games bronze winner Saina Nehwal and two-time World Championship bronze medallist, P V Sindhu made a resounding start to their badminton campaign at the Rio Olympics but it turned out to be a dismal day for the Indian doubles players, here today.

Former World No. 1 Saina staved off a spirited challenge from World No. 73 Brazilian girl Vicente Lohaynny 21-17 21-17 in a women’s singles match which lasted 39 minutes at the Riocentro here.

The World Championship silver medallist Indian will next take on World No. 61 Maria Ulitina of Ukraine in a Group G match on August 14.

The 26-year-old from Hyderabad took 20 minutes to pocket the opening game before sealing the issue by wrapping up the second game in 19 minutes.

Ninth seed Sindhu too had a good day in office as she spanked Laura Sarosi of Hungary 21-8 21-9 in a Group M women’s singles match that lasted for 27 minutes.

She will play against Glasgow Commonwealth Games champion Li Michelle of Canada on August 14 to complete the preliminary group engagements.

Sindhu didn’t break any sweat against her World No. 64 rival as she took 13 and 14 minutes to wrap up the first and second games.

Earlier, the Indian combination of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa was off to a disappointing start in the women’s doubles event, losing 15-21 10-21 to the World No.1 Japanese pair of Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsumoto in a match which lasted 36 minutes in their Group A opener.

The Indians will next be up against the world No.11 Dutch pair of Eefje Muskens and Selena Piek in their second group clash tomorrow.

In the men’s doubles competition, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy lost 18-21 13-21 to World No.2 Indonesian duo of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan.

Manu and Sumeeth fought hard in the opening game before running out of steam. They will be facing the World No. 5 Chinese pair of Biao Chai and Wei Hong.

PTI

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