Saina Nehwal started her title defence with a crushing victory over China's Lu Lan in the first round of the Singapore Open Super Series on Wednesday.
The world No. 4 Indian kept her cool at crucial moments against a struggling Lan to win 21-18, 13-21, 21-16 and carries the burden of Indian hopes alone as the rest of her compatriots crashed out of the event.
Arundhati Pantawane, playing her maiden first round match of Super Series, went down to Taiwan's Tai Tzu Ying 16-21, 13-21, while P Kashyap's loss to eighth seed Park Sung Hwan ended India's challenge in the men's singles.
Commonwealth gold medalists Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa also crashed out in the women’s doubles.
Saina, who had defeated Lan in the first round last week in the Thailand Open also, used her deadly smashes to maximum extent to trouble the Chinese. Lan managed to take the match into the deciding game, but Saina was well prepared for her, and held on to an early lead to win the match.
Saina faces Asian Championship's semifinalist Shao Chieh Cheng of Taiwan in the next round.
Saina Nehwal bt Lu Lan (Chn) 21
18, 13-21, 21-16;
Parupalli Kashyap lost to Park
Sung Hwan (Kor) 15-21, 14-21;
Rupesh Kumar/ Sanave Thomas lost to Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa (Jpn) 17-21, 16-21;
Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa
lost to Jung Kyung Eun/ Kim
Ha Na (Kor) 17-21, 14-21.
Arundhati Pantawane lost to
Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei) 16-21, 31-12.