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Swiss Open: Saina, Sindhu advance to pre-quarters


Two-time champion Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu entered the pre-quarters of the Swiss Open GPG badminton tournament in Basel on Wednesday. Top seed Saina saw off Germany’s Karin Schnaase 21-7 21-15, while Sindhu beat Ireland’s Chole Magee 21-19 21-10 in the opening round of the tournament.

After a disappointing exit in the quarter-final of the All England Championships last week, Indian ace Saina Nehwal produced an impressive performance in the opening round of the Swiss Open on Wednesday to defeat Germany’s Karin Schnaase. The German, ranked no.26 in the world, looked no match for the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist as Saina eased past Karin Schnaase into the pre-quarter-final of the tournament.

Karin Schnaase started the first game the better by scoring two successive points to take a 2-0 lead. But, that proved to be the last joy for the German in the game as the top-seed jumped ahead by claiming three points in a row and kept the lead from there on to win the game 21-7.

The second game proved to be a much-tighter affair with Karin Schnaase putting in a spirited effort against her much-fancied opponent. Both of them matched each other point for point till the scores were level at 13-13, but the Indian showed her prowess after that and claimed three consecutive points to go into a lead. With the German slowly losing her spirit, Saina cashed in on the opportunity and won the game 21-15 to move to the next round.

The top seed will next face Czech Republic’s Kristina Gavnholt, who is ranked No. 41 in the world, on Thursday in the pre-quarter-final.

Double World championship bronze medallist P V Sindhu also started the tournament with a win defeating Ireland’s Chole Magee 21-19 21-10 in the opening round. Sindhu will next face World No.23 Pai Yu-Po of Chinese Taipei on Thursday.

In the men’s singles, H S Prannoy, B Sai Praneeth and Sameer Verma advanced to the pre-quarters on Thursday with convincing wins over their rivals. 13th seed Prannoy defeated Germany’s Lars Schaenzler, who is ranked 170 in the world, 21-16, 21-13 in a match that lasted 32 minutes. Sai Praneeth, who stunned former World No.1 Lee Chong Wei in the All England championship last week, also continued his good run beating Uzbekistan’s Artyom Savatyugin 21-7 21-10 in a 21-minute match.

Youngster Sameer Verma also entered the pre-quarter-final on Thursday by pulling off an upset victory over fourth seed Wang Zhengming of China. The 21-year old defeated his formidable Chinese opponent 21-19, 22-20 in a match that lasted 41 minutes.

The only disappointment for India on the second day of the competition came in the form of 11th seed Ajay Jayaram, who crashed out of the tournament after losing to World No. 63 Kenichi Tago of Japan 21-23, 18-21.

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