Saina Nehwal is the lone Indian shuttler remaining in the All England Open after the 25-year-old defeated Busanan Ongbumrungphan in the second round of the competition in straight games, Thursday. Other shuttlers such as Sameer Verma, Kidambi Srikanth and B. Sai Praneeth crashed out of the All England Open.
Saina defeated the Thai girl 21-16, 21- 9 at Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham. Saina, with this victory, has set up a date with Tai Tzu Ying in the quarterfinals of the All England Open, which takes shape Friday.
The first game was relatively close, with Saina showing some great touch at the net as well as the baseline, but the Thai girl came back in the latter stages of the game to trouble the number two seed. Despite a late fightback from Busanan, Saina won the game 21-16.
The two shuttlers were involved in some great rallies, which was mostly finished by Saina with some wonderful shuttle play at the net.
However the story of the second game was quite different with Saina coming up with a dominant performance, and putting up a show for the gathered crowd. The number two seed did not give much chance to Busanan, who was gradually getting outclassed by her opponent. Saina won the game as well as the match with an easy point in the 42nd minute.
Saina might have emerged triumphant, but there is serious need for the second seed to improve upon her performance if she wants to win the 2016 All England Open title. There are some big challengers such as Carolina Marin and Li Xuerui, who can topple Saina if she shows any signs of weakness, which she did in the second round match against Busanan.
Saina was the only positive news for India in the All England Open, Thursday. Rest of the shuttlers could not deliver against their respective opponents.
India's best male shuttler, Srikanth was up against a tough Japanese opponent in the form of Kento Momota, who came up with a terrific performance to knock out the Indian in straight games. Momota took full advantage of a below par performance from Srikanth, who lost 21-10, 21-13.
Sai Praneeth, who had knocked out Lee Chong Wei in the first round, showed great class in the first game against Hans-Kristian Vittinghus. He clinched it 21-12. But the Dane looked too strong after losing the first game, as he won the last two with some quality play. The final score read 12-21, 21-11, 21-16 in favour of Vittinghus.
Sameer Verma lost in an entertaining match to Tain Houwei. Verma gave his best against the Chinese player, who played some superb badminton to come down from a game down to move into the third round of the competition. The score read 10-21, 21-12, 21-19.