Alor Setar: Brushing aside the disappointment of a first round loss at the India Open last week, Saina Nehwal entered the quarterfinals of the Malaysia Open GP Gold at Alor Setar on Thursday. The quarterfinal match-up will be interesting, for she runs into her close rival Wang Lin of China, who is coming back from injury.
Saina, seeded one, had little problems in disposing off the challenge of Japan’s Ayane Kurihara 21-14 21-17 in 33 minutes. The match was level in the early stages of both games, but Saina powered through the end stages.
Unlike the India Open which the Chinese skipped, they have turned out in strength at the Malaysia Open. Saina’s nemesis Jiang Yanjiao, against whom she has a 0-3 career record, is in her half, while second seed Wang Xin is likely to make the final from the bottom half of the draw. Wang Lin, despite only just coming back from injury, beat the dangerous Eriko Hirose, a player who had got the better of Saina at the All England in March.
In the men’s singles, world No.1 Lee Chong Wei progressed as expected into the quarters with an untroubled 21-19 21-19 victory over Tommy Sugiarto. He will take on Frenchman Brice Leverdez in the semis. Others to progress to the quarters were Sony DK of Indonesia, Bao Chunlai of China, and Park Sung Hwan and Li Hyun Il of Korea.
Results: Men’s singles: 1-Lee Chong Wei bt Tommy Sugiarto 21-19 21-19; 7-Bao Chunlai bt Kazushi Yamada 18-21 21-15 21-7; 9-Lee Hyun Il bt Daren Liew 21-14 21-12; Park Sung Hwan bt Shon Wan Ho 21-17 21-15
Women’s singles: 1-Saina Nehwal bt Ayane Kurihara 21-14 21-17; Q-Wang Lin bt 6-Eriko Hirose 21-11 21-15; 3-Jiang Yanjiao bt Maria Febe 21-12 21-16; 2-Wang Xin bt Ratchanok 21-15 22-20