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Saina, Srikanth advance; Sindhu goes down

Saina, Srikanth advance; Sindhu goes down
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However, it was curtains for teen sensation P V Sindhu, who suffered a three-game loss to lesser-ranked Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the second round of the women’s singles to bow out of the tournament.

Srikanth, who had defeated two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan in China Open Super Series men’s singles final on Sunday, faced stiff resistance before prevailing over his Thai opponent Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk 21-19, 23-21 in a second round contest that last 39 minutes.

Having opened up a 10-2 lead and then taken an upper hand at 11-3 at in the interval, Srikanth seemed to be running away with the opening game. But the Thai shuttler fought back from 5-14 down, as he reeled off six straight points to reduce the gap to 14-11 and then caught up the Indian at 15-15. Srikanth, however, broke away from there and sealed the game at 21-19.

The second game was a closely fought affair and the only time the Indian had an edge was when he earned four points on a trot to open up a 18-13 lead, but the Thailand player once against caught up with Srikanth. It was a neck and neck battle for some time again, before Srikanth, who on Thursday achieved his career best world ranking of 10th, held on to his nerves to take game 23-21 and wrap up the match.

Saina had an easy outing as she took just 31 minutes to outplay United States’ Beiwen Zhang 21-16, 21-13. The Indian will now play sixth seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinal.

World number four Saina put up a dominant show throughout the match. Breaking away from a 5-5 tie in the opening game, she never looked back. The second game also turned out to be a cake walk for the third seeded Saina and she won the tie rather comfortably in the end. Earlier, Sindhu, a two-time bronze medallist at the World Championship, went down 17-21, 21-13, 11-21 to Okuhara in a women’s singles match that lasted more than an hour.

The only time world number 10 Sindhu faced Okuhara was in Badminton Asia Youth Under-19 Championships in 2012 and the Indian had beaten the Japanese then in a close three-game match but she couldn’t do it this time.
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