Saina Nehwal eases into Australian Open second round

Sydney : Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal eased past local favourite Joy Lai in straight sets to advance to the second round of the Australian Open Super Series here on Wednesday.

Saina, who is aiming to secure her maiden title of the season, registered a comfortable 21-10, 21-14 win over Australian youngster Lai in the opening round women’s singles contest that lasted 29 minutes.

The 26-year-old has been struggling to breach the last-four stage in the major tournaments as she made a slew of semifinal finishes at the Swiss Grand Prix Gold, India Super Series, Malaysia Super Series Premier Open and Asia Badminton Championships.

Saina is also seeded seventh in the tournament after world number one Carolina Marin, who ended the former’s campaign in Jakarta in the quarterfinals last week, pulled out at the last minute.

On the other hand, PV Sindhu continued her woeful form as she crashed out of tournament after suffering a 15-21, 19-21 loss to South Korea’s Kim Hyo Min in the opening round.

Tanvi Lad also reached the second round after defeating Australian qualifier Tiffany Ho 18-21, 21-14, 21-11 in the opening round of women’s singles contest.

Meanwhile, in the men’s singles event, Kidambi Srikanth, Sameer Verma progressed through to the second round, while R.M.V Gurusaidutt made an early exit from the tournament. (ANI)