Forty five minutes into her pre-quarterfinal against Petya Nedelcheva of Bulgaria, Saina Nehwal stood at the net looking like she was about to rest her hands on the knees. An energy-sapping rally had lasted over 60 strokes with both players taking turns to attack before the Indian wrapped the point with a flurry of smashes.
Long rallies dominated by smashes and spiced up with delectable drop shots enthralled the few hundred spectators at the Gachibowli Stadium, who erupted in joy when the hometown heroine took the final point in the 57-minute encounter and became the first Indian woman to reach the World Badminton championships’ quarterfinals.
She beat the 10th seed Bulgarian 18-21, 21-18, 21-10 to set up a repeat of the Indonesia super series final against second-seed China’s Lin Wang , who defeated 12th seed Hye Youn Hwang of Korea 21-10, 23-21.
Jwala-Diju in quarters
Jwala Gutta and V Diju had reached the pre quarterfinals without playing a game and their biggest worry was the lack of match practice. But the eighth seeds showed no signs of rustiness as they defeated Poland’s Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Kostiuczyk 21-10, 22-20.
The national champions raced through the opening game and looked set for an anchor when they earned two match points. However, their Polish opponents managed to level scores before the Indians showed some exceptional net play to wrap up the tie.
Chetan Anand failed to survive Sony Dwi Kuncoro in the men’s singles pre-quarters. He made a sluggish start against the Athens Olympics bronze medallist and was playing catch up in the opening game.