Saina Nehwal kicked off her campaign at the World Badminton Championships with an easy victory over Olga Golovanova of Russia in the second round of the women's singles in Guangzhou, China, on Wednesday.
The London Olympics bronze medallist, who had made it to the quarter-finals in the previous editions of the tournament in 2009 and 2011, needed just 23 minutes for a 21-5, 21-4 victory.
She will meet 15th seed Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand, against whom she has a 5-0 head-to-head record, in the Thursday’s pre-quarter-finals.
Earlier in the day, P V Sindhu overcame a fighting Kaori Imabeppu of Japan to also secure a place in the last 16 stage.
Both Saina and Sindhu had received a first round bye.
Seeded 10th, Sindhu, who won the Malaysia Grand Prix in May, was made to work hard before overcoming the unseeded Imabeppu 21-19, 19-21, 21-17 in 71 minutes.
World No 12 Sindhu, who made her debut at the World Championships, will take on the winner of the match between second seed Wang Yihan of China and Indonesian Belaetrix Manuputi next.
Parupalli Kashyap also advanced in the men’s singles after his opponent, Petr Koukal from the Czech Republic, retired hurt midway through the first game at 14-5.
The game lasted just 11 minutes.
The 13th seeded Kashyap will next face Hu Yun of Hong Kong, who is ranked No 6.
Hu had beaten Kashyap in the Asia Badminton Championships in 2010 and Korea Open early this year.
However, it was heartbreak for Ajay Jayaram. He was beaten by Spain’s 88-ranked Pablo Abian in 31 minutes.
The world No 24 Indian, who had stunned world No 12 Wing Ki Wong of Hong Kong in his opening match on Tuesday lost 9-21, 17-21.
There was more heartbreak for India, as the men's doubles pair of Tarun Kona and Arun Vishnu crashed out of the tournament after a 15-21, 21-13, 17-21 defeat to the 15th seeded Indonesian pair of Alvent Yulianto Chandra and Markis Kido.
Image: P V Sindhu