China Open: Saina, Prannoy reach round two

AGENCIES SHANGHAI, 15th Nov: Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy entered round two of the singles events at the China Open Super Series Premier, after registering contrasting victories on Wednesday.

Saina defeated USA's Beiwen Zhang in straight games 21-12, 21-13 in just 29 minutes, while Prannoy took one-and-half hours to get the better of Lee Dong Keun of Korea. Prannoy won the first round contest 18-21, 21-16, 21-19.

Nehwal will next face fifth seed Akane Yamaguchi who beat China's Xiaoxin Chen 21-12, 21-14. Nehwal trails the Japanese one to three in head-to-head battle with their three previous matches resulting in wins for Yamaguchi. Prannoy will face Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong in the round of 16.

India have a mixed day so far as Sourabh Verma lost in the men's singles first round to France's Brice Leverdez 14-21, 15-21, 11-21. While in the women's doubles, Ashwini Ponnappa and Sikki Reddy lost 14-21, 15-21 to Ha Na Baek and Chae Yoo Jung of South Korea in the round of 32.

Later, Ponnappa also lost her mixed doubles match along with Satwiksairaj Rankireddy in a tight three-game contest. The Indian pair lost 19-21, 21-17, 13-21 to Mathias Christiansen and Christina Pedersen of Denmark.

In the men's doubles, the pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty failed to cross the first hurdle losing to Chinese pair of Cheng Liu and Nan Zhang 13-21, 13-21. Whereas, Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy lost 18-21, 15-21 to Marcus Fernaldi and Kevin Sanjaya of Indonesia.

Chinese legend Lin Dan was dumped out in the first round, stunned by Indonesia's world number 17 Jonatan Christie. The 21-19, 21-16 defeat will ramp up speculation that the 34-year-old Lin, widely regarded as the best badminton player of all time, could call it quits as he approaches the end of his brilliant career.

Lin never found his rhythm in going down to Christie in 42 minutes, in a shock upset in the Chinese city of Fuzhou. The 20-year-old Christie plays Hong Kong's Angus Ng in the second round. Lin's great rival, the Malaysian Lee Chong Wei, had no such trouble in a 21-5, 21-7 demolition of Taiwan's Hsu Jen-hao.

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