The Telegraph
Friday , April 4 , 2014
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Saina, Kashyap advance

Saina Nehwal, in New Delhi, on Thursday. A Telegraph picture

New Delhi: Saina Nehwal’s joy of qualifying for the quarter final in the India Open Super Series for the first time in three years might be shortlived.

Saina hardly broke a sweat while breezing past Thailand’s Natcha Saengchote 21-15, 21-12 in only 35 minutes, at the Siri Fort Sports Complex, on Thursday. However, in the last-eight round, to be played on Friday, she would be surely tested when she will face third seed Yihan Wang of China.

Not because that Wang is in amazing form, what will also play in the Hyderabad girl’s mind is the Chinese holds an overwhelming 7-1 career record over her. The only time Saina got the better of Wang was when the latter retired hurt during the Denmark Open in 2012.

Saina is well aware of her opponent’s class and quality. “I have to play better… She (Wang) is an extremely strong player,” said Saina. “This match was tough but the next one will be tougher. I don’t have a great record against Wang. But it is not just her… All Chinese players and difficult to play. To beat her, I have to be faster and my strokes should also be accurate,” she added.

While Saina plays Wang, it will be a test of character for Parupalli Kashyap, too, after he made the quarters on Thursday. He would challenge the defending champion and world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei. The two had met thrice before and the Indian could never even snatch a game from the Malaysian.

Kashyap earned the rights to face Lee Chong Wei after defeating compatriot RMV Gurusaidutt 21-15, 16-21, 21-11 in an hour. Lee, on the other hand, spent only 23 minutes on the court to ease past Sourabh Verma 21-9, 21-6.

Against Natcha, Saina initially looked sluggish but recovered quickly to demolish the Thai girl within no time. The only time Natcha had some say in the tie was early in the first game. Once Saina established lead midway through, Natcha could do little.