New Delhi: London Olympics bronze medallist shuttler Saina Nehwal on Wednesday opened her campaign at the Hong Kong Super Series on a positive note, prevailing over Aprilla Yuswandari of Indonesia in straight games to reach the second round of women's singles event.
The world number three took time to get into the groove but went from strength to strength as the match progressed to notch up a 22-20, 21-8 win over Aprilla at the Hong Kong Coliseum in Kowloon. Pranaav Chopra and Siki Reddy N also reached the second round with a 21-19, 21-15 victory over Phillip Chew and Jamie Subandhi of the USA in the mixed doubles competition.
Returning to action after skipping the China Open, Saina was equally good with her smashes and net play as the Indian registered as many as 15 smash winners and equal number of net winners in the 33-minute contest.
After gaining a narrow 3-1 lead early on, Saina lost the lead for a brief time when Aprilla went 8-6 ahead. However, the Indian restored her lead, moving to 14-10, before the Indonesian clawed back at 20-20. But Saina didn't give any chance to Aprilla after that and closed the opening game in her favour with two consecutive points.
In the second game, the third seeded Indian was lagging 1-4 initially but came back in style, registering eight straight points to move to 9-4. She then reeled off another 10 points to breeze ahead 19-6. Saina closed the issue in her favour comfortably after that.
In another match, Tarun Kona and Ashwini Ponnappa lost their opening match against top seed Chinese pair of Chen XU and Jin MA 21-15, 21-16 in the mixed doubles competition.
On the other hand, Parupalli Kashyap showed nerves of steel as he stunned world number 10 Jan Jorgensen of Denmark to advance to the men's singles second round.
Kashyap, who had reached the quarter-finals stage in London Olympics, won 24-22, 20-22, 22-20 in a marathon opening round match that lasted an hour and eight minutes. He showed tremendous resilience and a never-say-die attitude and matched Jorgensen with his repertoire of strokes during the thrilling match.
Trailing 0-3 initially, Kashyap turned the tables on Jorgensen and moved into the break at 11-8. The Dane, however, clawed back 13-13, but the Indian fought tooth and nail to nose ahead.
In the second game, Jorgensen and Kashyap traded points right from the start but it was the Dane who had enjoyed the lead most of the time and eventually succeeded to staving off the challenge from the Indian to bounce back into the contest. The decider turned out to be a cliff-hanger as Kashyap showed nerves of steel and didn't let go off opportunities and despite being pushed to a 2-5 deficit early on, wrestled his way to lead 11-10 at the break.
After the breather, Kashyap slowly widened the gap and moved to 19-15. Jorgensen clawed back to 20-20 but it was the 26-year-old Indian who had the last laugh.
While in another match, India's Ajay Jayaram also reached the second round after seeing off Zhengming Wang of China 22-20, 23-21.