Saina, Srikanth through
Birmingham, March 7
Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth progressed to the quarterfinals of the All England Championships with three-game wins here today.
Saina fought back after losing the first game to beat Denmark’s Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt in the women’s singles competition.
Saina, a finalist in 2015, was blown away by world No. 19 Line in the opening game but the experienced campaigner kept her cool to take the match to the decider and eventually come up trumps against her Danish rival. The eighth-seeded Indian rallied her way to an 8-21 21-16 21-13 win over the 24-year-old Line in a 51-minute match. She is expected to take on her nemesis and two-time champion Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei next. Saina had defeated Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour 21-17 21-18 in 35 minutes in her opening match.
In the men’s singles, Srikanth overcame reigning Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie 21-17 11-21 21-12 in 58 minutes. Srikanth had defeated France’s Brice Leverdez 21-13 21-11 in the opening round. B Sai Praneeth’s fight lasted just 35 minutes as he went down 12-21 17-21 to 24-year-old Ng Ka Long Angus. It was his third loss to the world No. 15 from Hong Kong. On Wednesday, Sameer Verma went down fighting 21-16 18-21 14-21 to former world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.
Lin Dan out
China’s Lin Dan crashed out in the first round, losing to Japan’s Kanta Tsuneyama. Lin, a six-time winner who is now ranked 12th in the world, fell to a 19-21 21-14 21-7 defeat.