London Olympics: Saina Nehwal marches into quarters
LONDON: On a day when the badminton world was shrouded with controversy, it was business as usual for India's Saina Nehwal as she cruised into the quarterfinals of the women's badminton singles at the London Olympics on Wednesday.
Eight women badminton players were disqualified from the doubles event for throwing matches to get a favourable opponent. Saina, who will be making her second quarterfinal appearance in the Olympics, though didn't let any of this distract her as she disposed off Yao Jie of the Netherlands 21-14, 21-16.
The Indian, seeded fourth, was in top form and sent a warning to her opponents with her full array of shots that demolished the eleventh seed. The first game was easy for the Indian, as she opened a 10-4 lead.
Saina made her opponent run all over the court with her trademark disguised drop shots in full show. The second was a tighter affair, the Indian took a 5-2 lead initially but was pegged back by some dogged play by the Dutch player, who then managed to take a 8-5 lead.
Saina's reply came swiftly as she lifted her game to wipe off the deficit and then take a 13-9 lead. Some bad judgement calls by the Indian allowed the 11th seed to crawl back into the game but the writing was on the wall for the Dutch shuttler as Saina finally closed the game 21-16.
Earlier in the day, Parupalli Kashyap created history by becoming the first Indian male player to enter the singles quarterfinals at Olympics, defeating Sri Lankan Niluka Karunaratne in three games.
Kashyap won a tough match 21-14, 15-21, 21-9, in one hour and six minutes at the Wembley Arena. The previous best performance was by Dipankar Bhattarcharjee in the 1992 Barcelona Games where he lost the third round match to Chinese Zhao Jianhua.