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Nehwal leads India closer to last eight

other Updated: Oct 05, 2010 16:40 IST
AFP
India

India's great new badminton hope Saina Nehwal led the home country closer to a quarter-final place in the Commonwealth Games team event with another one-sided win on Tuesday.

Nehwal, the only Indian woman ever to have won a Super Series title, was again far too strong for a part-time opponent as the host nation scored its second 5-0 victory in succession.

The 20-year-old world number three won 21-3, 21-6 against Mariama Eastland to complete a winning 3-0 lead against Barbados before lunch in a rapid early session.

It meant that Nehwal, who was left with the remainder of the day to rest, practise or train, has now lost conceded only 24 points in four 21-up games and two matches.

"To have complete control of a match, it requires almost seven to eight hours practice a day," said Nehwal.

This situation is ideal for the Hyderabad star, who has been able to ease her way comfortably into the Games' special ambience despite having made unpopular forthright remarks about the event's preparation.

This has reduced the pressure on her and may serve her well physically too when it comes to potentially harder battles in the individual competition next week.

Then she will be favourite to become the first Indian woman to win a badminton gold.

"It may not be that tough but this is a very prestigious tournament in which everyone wants to win," Nehwal said with careful diplomacy. "I am looking forward to us winning a few medals.

India's other live contests against Barbados were won by Jwala Gutta and Diju Valiya Veetil in the mixed doubles, with a 21-3, 21-8 win over Dakell Thorpe and Shari Watson, and by Kashyap Parupalli in the women's singles, with a 21-14, 21-6 win over Nicholas Reifer.

The clean sweep was completed by Sanave Arattukulam and Rupesh Kallyad Thazhatheveetil in the men's doubles, and by Aswini Machimanda and Aparna Balan in the women's doubles.

India, seeded to meet titleholders Malaysia in the team final, now have to beat Wales and Scotland on Wednesday to win Group D and ensure a place in the knockout stages in the last eight.