India' Saina Nehwal squashed a strong challenge from Chinese Taipei's Chen Hsiao Huan to enter the third round of World Badminton Championships in Paris on Wednesday.
World Number 2 and second seeded Saina, who got a bye in the first round, lost the first game before fighting her way for a 20-22, 21-15, 21-8 win in 47 minutes against 65th-ranked Chen.
"It was not easy getting into the gear as the last I played on this court was on Sunday. So, the three-day wait was bound to affect me in some ways," Saina said.
"All due respect to my opponent though who made me work hard for the win."
Saina will next meet the winner of the match between Malaysian Mew Choo Wong and Ella Diehl of Russia, seeded 13th.
Saina was not the only top player who struggled at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium on Wednesday. Indonesian Taufik Hidayat was on the brink of exit before rallying to book his place in the third round of men's singles.
Taufik, seeded No. 5, dug into his reserves to overcome a tenacious Hsieh Yu Hsin of Chinese Taipei 19-21, 21-19, 21-9. The fact that he was the sole Indonesian left in the fray, following Simon Santoso’s decision to pull out of the second round due to a lower back injury, added more pressure on Taufik to deliver.
"Although it is my second match here, I still have some problem getting adjusted to the court conditions," said Taufik.
"But I was never worried as I knew I could win. Now I have to prepare for the next match and recover fast."
Chinese ace Lin Dan though had no such problems as he carved out a 21-13, 21-15 win over Finland’s Henri Hurskainen. He will most likely play against his counterpart Bao Chunlai who is expected to overcome the challenge of David Snider in a later match.
Dan and Bao Chunlai have had 23 meetings in the past with Dan winning 18 of them.
"We both know each others game and it will be close," said Dan on his anticipated clash against Chunlai.
"It was a good workout for me today and I am looking towards the later stages of the tournament with renewed confidence."
Also booking his place in the third round in the men's singles was Vietnam's Nguyen Tien Minh who defeated Raul Must of Estonia, 21-14,21-10 in 42 minutes.
Nguyen will take on either South Korea’s Park Sung Hwan or Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov in the third round.
"I have beaten him before but that means nothing now. It is the result of our match tomorrow that matters," said Nguyen.
"It will be close no doubt, but my target is to make the last eight and you can expect me to run for every shot.
Indonesia suffered another setback in the women's singles when Adrianti Firdasari was beaten by Korea’s Kim Moon Hi 13-21, 21-15, 21-18.