Saina Nehwal fought her way back from a game down to win her opening round match while compatriot P V Sindhu crushed her opponent to storm into the second round of the French Super Series in Paris, on Wednesday.
World number four Saina, seeded fourth in the tournament, lost the first game but rallied in a fine fashion to beat unseeded Nichaon Jindapon of Thailand 12-21, 21-16, 21-13 in her opening round match that lasted 52 minutes.
The Thai girl matched her fancied Indian opponent in smash and net play and Saina won most of the points through rallies.
Saina showed rustiness initially as her Thai opponent did not allow her to take the lead throughout the first game. It was a close contest till 13-10 before Jindapon won four points on the trot to take the first game.
The second game was a tense affair till midway with the Thai refusing to yield to intense pressure from Saina. They were tied at 12-12, but the Indian surged ahead and won five points on the trot from 14-13 to run away with the second game and take the match to the decider.
The pattern repeated in the decider with both players running neck and neck initially before Saina breaking away from 14-13 with seven straight points to wrap up the match at the Stade Pierre De Coubertin.
Saina will take on Yeon Ju Bae of Korea in the second round.
Earlier, Sindhu made a sensational start to her French Super Series campaign, trouncing world No 6 Ji Hyun Sung of Korea to cruise into the second round.
The world No 10-ranked Indian needed just 29 minutes to beat the Korean, who had shocked Saina Nehwal at the Denmark Open last week, 21-8, 21-12.
Sindhu, who exited the Denmark Open early, rode on her smash winners and deft net play to tame the Korean at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin.
In the women's doubles, the pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa went down fighting to Gebby Ristiyani Imawan and Tiara Rosalia Nuraidah of Indonesia in the first round.
Renewing their partnership after the London Olympics, the duo staged a comeback after losing the first game but was overwhelmed 18-21, 21-13, 17-21 by the world No 16 pair.
Jwala-Ashwini started well and had the upper hand, leading 17-13, before their opponents won six points on the trot to take the first game.
But the Indians came up with a spirited display to put the disappointment behind and claim the second game.
The decider, however, saw the Indonesians draw on their experience to emerge triumphant after 50 minutes.
In another women’s singles match, Indian qualifier Arundhati Pantawane lost in the first round to Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand 17-21, 21-16, 14-21.
In the men's singles, Ajay Jayaram notched a straight games win over Japan's Kazumasa Sakai but his compatriots Parupalli Kashyap and RMV Gurusaidutt failed to cross the first hurdle.
World No 25 Ajay got the better of Kazumasa 21-16, 21-11 in 38 minutes.
For Kashyap, taming top seed and world No 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia was always an uphill task. The Indian played his heart out in the first game but the Malaysian still prevailed 22-20, 21-12 after 37 minutes.
Gurusaidutt went down 9-21, 14-21 to Chen Yuekun of China in another first round match.
Image: P V Sindhu