Saina Nehwal has entered the quarterfinal of the Kong Kong Open badminton championship on Thursday. In her second straight three-setter contest, Saina won 21-18, 9-21 and 21-16 in 51 minutes.
PV Sindhu had a relatively comfortable passage to the last eight stage of the tournament, drubbing Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Ya Ching 21-10, 21-14 in 36 minutes.
Saina Nehwal thus improved her head-to-head win-loss record against Sato to 6-1. Saina, the fifth seed in Hong Kong Open, had beaten Sato in three games in the Swiss Open in March this year.
The second round match between Saina Nehwal and Sato was very well contested. The first game lasted 16 minutes and Saina built a six-point lead (20-14) that helped her clinch the game.
The Japanese came back strongly in the second game, winning it in just 13 minutes. Playing her second major tournament after a long injury break, Saina wasted a six-point lead (7-1) in the decider and the duo went almost neck-and-neck (13-12).
Saina finally broke free, built on her slender lead and finally ran out a comfortable winner by five points.
On Wednesday, the former world No. 1 bounced back after losing the first game to come through with a 12-21, 21-19, 21-17 scoreline against Thailand’s upcoming star Porntip Buranaprasertsuk. Saina had lost to the Thai in the first round of China Open last week.
Saina Nehwal is in the lower half of the draw and could run into PV Sindhu in the semifinal stage. PV Sindhu, who won the China Open last week, won her opener against Indonesian Susanto Yulia Yosephin 21-13, 21-16.
Sindhu broke little sweat against Hsu Ya Ching on Thursday. She won the opening game in just 15 minutes but had to fight a bit in the second.
Ya Ching gave Sindhu a fight till midway through the second game, but the Indian girl broke away from 15-12 to clinch the match with consummate ease.
In the men’s division on Thursday, India’s Ajay Jayaram entered the quarterfinals with a 21-18, 21-19 win against China’s Huang Yuxiang.
Sameer Verma also entered the last eight stage with a 19-21, 21-15, 21-11 victory against Japanese qualifier Sakai Kazumasa. However, HS Prannoy lost to Malaysia’s Chong Wei Feng 21-15, 11-21, 15-21 in round 2.