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India Open: Saina Nehwal sails in second round after opponent retires

London 2012 bronze medallist Saina Nehwal moved into the women’s singles second round in India Open 2022 in New Delhi on January 12, 2022. Photo: BAI
London 2012 bronze medallist Saina Nehwal moved into the women’s singles second round in India Open 2022 in New Delhi on January 12, 2022. Photo: BAI

New Delhi, Jan 12 (MNN) London 2012 bronze medallist Saina Nehwal moved into the women’s singles second round in India Open 2022 here on Wednesday as her Czech opponent Tereza Svabikova withdrew due to injury midway through their match.

Heading into the match at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall, world number 19 Saina, seeded fourth in the tournament, was an overwhelming favourite over the Czech Republic player, ranked 142nd in the world.

However, with Saina making a return to competitive action after almost three months on the sidelines, the Indian seemed rusty and Tereza Svabikova almost made a match out of it.

Saina’s last outing was at the French Open in October 2021, where she had to retire with an injury midway through her round of 32 match.

The Indian shuttler started well and raced to a 7-2 lead in the first game but dropped off midway through to allow Tereza Svabikova a chance.

The Czech player made good use of the opportunity to level up the score and even took the lead late on.

Trailing 20-19, Saina however regained her composure and saved a game point before closing the game 22-20.

A point into the second game, Tereza Svabikova had to retire with an injury, handing Saina Nehwal the win.

In the next round, Saina will play the winner of the all-Indian tie between Malvika Bansod and Samiya Imad Farooqui.

Saina’s fellow Indian Olympic medallist PV Sindhu had eased into the second round on Tuesday. The two can only meet in the final.

Meanwhile, in women’s doubles, the second-seeded Indian pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy defeated compatriots Janani Ananthakumar and Divya R Balasubramanian 21-7, 19-21, 21-13 to progress.

In men’s singles, HS Prannoy cruised into the second round with a convincing 21-14, 21-7 win over Spain’s Pablo Abian.

The eight-seeded Prannoy will next face Indian compatriot Mithun Manjunath, who defeated France’s Arnaud Merkle 21-16, 15-21, 21-10 in his first-round match.

World championships bronze medallist Lakshya Sen, the third seed at India Open 2022, also cruised past Egypt’s Adham Hatem Elgamal 21-15, 21-7 in his opening match.

Men’s doubles second seeds Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy outplayed Ravi and Chirag Arora 21-14, 21-10 to set up a second-round clash against Shyam Prasad and S Sunjith (Jr).

Srikanth back in top 10 in BWF badminton rankings, Sindhu at number 7

Sindhu to see action in India Open 2022, aims for Asian Games gold

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