Rio-bound Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and K Srikanth registered straight-game wins to reach the quarterfinals of the women’s and men’s singles events respectively at the $750,000 Australian Open Super Series badminton tournament here on Thursday.
London Olympics bronze-medallist, Saina outclassed Malaysia’s Jin Wei Goh 21-12 21-14 in a 37-minute clash to set up a quarterfinal battle with 2013 world champion and second seed Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand.
In men’s singles, Srikanth, who had taken a break for a month to train after a hectic April, defeated Indonesia’s Sony Dwi Kuncoro 21-19 21-12 in 34 minutes. The World No. 13 will next face Korean qualifier Kwang Hee Heo on Friday.
However, it was curtains for young Tanvi Lad and Sameer Verma after they suffered contrasting defeats in the pre-quarters on Thursday.
Runners-up at National Championships, Tanvi Lad went down 18-21 6-21 to fourth seed Chinese Wang Yihan, while national champion Sameer played his heart out before going down 21-11 7-21 19-21 to Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia.
Saina was lagging initially when Jin took a 4-1 lead and held on to it till 9-7. The Indian then reeled off six points to reach 13-9 and then just zoomed ahead to pocket the first game.
In the second game, Saina led 5-2 early on but Jin tried to grab the lead and put up a tough fight before the Indian broke off 9-9 to gradually march ahead. In the end, she comfortably closed the issue.
Saina has a 6-5 head-to-head record against Ratchanok but the Indian has lost to the Thai girl twice in straight games in the last two meetings.
Srikanth, who had faced a series of first-round losses in the last few tournaments since wining the Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold in January, fought back from 4-6 and 13-15 to grab the opening game against Sony.
In the second game, Srikanth was more clinical as he surged ahead after 3-3 and never looked back.