Saina Nehwal avenged her quarter-final defeat at the Thailand Open on Wednesday, beating Singapore’s Juan Gu in straight games in the opening round of the Singapore Super Series.
The World No 2 Indian ace needed only 40 minutes to pack off Juan, ranked 21, winning 21-14, 23-21 and registering her fifth victory over the local player.
The 23-year-old from Hyderabad will next take on Japan’s Eriko Hirose, who holds a 3-2 record against the Indian.
There was more joy for India at the Singapore indoor stadium on Wednesday, as rising shuttler Sai Praneeth scored a stunning straight-games victory over world No 4 Yun Hu of Hong Kong in the opening round of the men's singles.
The world No 61 Indian brushed aside the second seeded shuttler, winning 21-9, 21-10 in 30 minutes.;
The 20-year-old from Hyderabad, who ruined former World and Olympics champion Taufik Hidayat's farewell in Indonesia, will next take on the winner of the match between RMV Gurusaidutt and Wei Feng Chong.
Praneeth had lost to Yun in straight games at the Vietnam International Challenge in 2009.
World No 12 Juan had cut short Saina's All-England campaign in 2011, beating her in straight games in the quarter-finals.
Saina surged ahead 5-1 but Juan clawed back with four straight points. However, the Indian maintained control thereafter to take the game.
In the second game, Juan established a 10-5 lead early on but Saina bounced back to level at 12. After a brief fight, the Indian grabbed the lead and extended it to 19-16 only to see the local girl put up stiff resistance. Juan scored four straight points to regain the leadf at 20-19.
However, Saina’s better staying power and experience won her the day in the end.
The other Indians in the fray, however, lost in the opening round of the tournament.
Ajay Jayaram went down fighting 19-21, 21-18, 17-21 to fourth seed Kenichi Tago of Japan, while top seed Pengyu Du sent Anand Pawar packing 21-16, 21-13 in another men's singles match.
Sourabh Varma, another up-and-coming shuttler, was defeated 17-21, 17-21 by Wing Ki Wong in another men's singles opening round match that lasted 37 minutes.
In the women's singles, Arundhati Pantawane lost to world No 26 Bulgarian Petya Nedelcheva 18-21, 18-21, while P C Thulasi put up a gallant fight against world No 14 Indonesian Lindaweni Faetri before losing 23-21, 16-21, 16-21 in 66 minutes.
In the mixed doubles, the Indian pair of Tarun Kona and Ashwini Ponnappa lost to third seeds Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir 6-21, 10-21, while Arun Vishnu and Aparna Balan suffered a 17-21, 21-19, 12-21 loss to Thai combo of Songphon Anugritayawon and Kunchala Voravichitchaikul.
Image: Sai Praneeth
Photograph: Regis Duvignau / Reuters