Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal registered a sensational win over Chinese world No. 9 He Bing Jiao in the Singapore Open here on Thursday.
The two-time Commonwealth Games gold medal winner joined compatriots PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy in the quarter finals of the tournament.
Saina prevailed 21-19, 11- 21, 21-17 over the fifth-seeded Chinese to make the last eight stage. It will be her first appearance in the quarter finals of a Super 500 event in over two and a half years. She will meet Japan’s Aya Ohori next.
The 32-year-old from Hyderabad has been battling a series of injuries and lack of form in the past few years, which forced her to skip the selection trials for the Commonwealth Games, in April.
In the last three years, Saina’s best performance had been a semi-final finish at Orleans Master Super 100 last year. She had also reached the last-8 stage at Malaysia Masters and Barcelona Spain Masters in 2020.
Two-time Olympic medallist Sindhu and in-form Prannoy also stormed into the quarter finals.
Sindhu, the third seed, staved off a spirited challenge from Vietnam’s world No. 59 Thuy Linh Nguyen 19-21, 21- 19, 21-18 in the women’s singles competition to set up a clash with China’s Han Yue.
Prannoy, the world No. 19, notched up his second win in three weeks over world No. 4 and third seed Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan 14-21, 22- 20, 21-18 in an hour and nine minutes.
The 29-year-old Indian will face Japan’s Kodai Naraoka next.
A day after notching up an upset win over compatriot Kidambi Srikanth, Mithun Manjunath’s run ended with a 10-21, 21-18, 16-21 loss to Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen. Ashmita Chaliha, who had defeated Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan, also couldn’t proceed further in the tournament, losing 9-21, 13-21 to Han Yue of China.
The highlight of the day was Saina’s thrilling victory over Bing Jiao, a two-time World Championship bronze medallist, whom the Indian had defeated in their only meeting way back in 2019. Saina’s trademark cross court smashes and drops were on full display as she put up a good show at the Singapore Indoor Stadium here. Left-handed Bing Jiao seemed too erratic, struggling with the lengths of the shuttles as her miscued shots went wide.