Saina Nehwal on Wednesday started her campaign for an elusive medal at the World Championships with a crushing straight-game victory over lower-ranked Olga Golovanova of Russia in the women's singles competition of the prestigious event here.
London Olympics bronze medallist Saina, who had reached the quarterfinals of previous editions in 2009 and 2011, brushed aside Olga 21-5 21-4 in just 23 minutes to set up a clash with 15th seed Thai Porntip Buranaprasertsuk in the prequarterfinals on Thursday. The Thai beat Jamie Subandhi of the US 21-12, 21-9.
Saina has a 5-0 record against Porntip but the Indian will have to be on guard as past records do not count and such matches could turn out to be tricky sometimes.
PV Sindhu overcame a fighting Kaori Imabeppu of Japan to secure her place in the third round of the women's singles competition. Both Saina and Sindhu had got a bye in the first round.
Seeded 10th, Sindhu, who won the Malaysia Grand Prix in May this year, had to sweat it out for an hour and 11 minutes before she could prevail over unseeded Imabeppu 21-19 19-21 21-17.
World number 12 Sindhu, who made her debut at the World Championships in this edition, will next take on second seed Wang Yihan of China who defeated Indonesian Belaetrix Manuputi 21-12, 21-8.
Kashyap faces Yun
In the men's singles event, Parupalli Kashyap kept his hopes alive as he emerged victories after his opponent Petr Koukal from Czech Republic retired hurt mid way through the first game at 14-5. The game lasted for just 11 minutes.
The 13th seeded Kashyap will next face Hu Yun of Hong Kong, who is ranked sixth in the world. Hu has beaten Kashyap twice in the past during the Asia badminton Championship in 2010 and Korea Open early this year.
However, it was heartbreak for India in the men's doubles competition as Tarun Kona and Arun Vishnu crashed out in the second round, but not before giving a tough fight to the fancied Indonesian pair of Alvent Yulianto Chandra and Markis Kido.
The unseeded Indian duo fought tooth and nail for 40 minutes before going down 15-21 21-13 17-21 to the Indonesian pair, who are seeded 15th in the competition.
Ajay Jayaram's challenge ended too, as he lost 9-21, 17-21 to Spain's Pablo Abian.