Singapore: Arundhati Pantwane was the only Indian to survive the qualifying rounds of the Singapore Open Superseries on Monday. Arundhati earned a creditable win over Taipei’s Chen Hsiao Huan in the first round, and then got past Michelle Li of Canada to book a place against another Chinese Taipei player, Tzu Ying Tai, in the first round of the main draw. The Indian joins her senior compatriot Saina Nehwal in main draw action on Wednesday.
Both Indians in the men’s singles qualifying, Guru Sai Dutt and Ajay Jayaram, crashed out. Jayaram offered a torrid test to former All England champion Hafiz Hashim, who just about survived 21-15 14-21 24-22 in the first round, while Guru Sai Dutt won his first round qualifying but fell in the second. Guru got past Hsuan Yi Hsueh (Tpe) 16-21 21-18 21-12, but was outclassed by Thailand left-hander Tanongsak 22-20 21-16. That leaves P Kashyap as the only Indian in the men’s singles. Kashyap takes on Park Sung Hwan on Wednesday.
Arundhati’s match against Chen was a tight affair all through. Arundhati led briefly in the latter part of the first game, but Chen surged ahead in the closing moments and took the first game. Arundhati regrouped and set a big lead in the second game, going up 17-12, but Chen fought back to equalize at 17-all. The Indian refused to buckle and nailed the last four points to take the match into a third game.
The third was tense all the way, with barely a couple of points’ difference. The Indian kept her nerve in the final moments to pluck away the win.
Just as exhausting was her next match against Michelle Li. The Indian once again managed to edge past Michelle Li and win a place in the main draw.
Men’s singles: Guru Sai Dutt beat Hsuan Yi Hsueh (Tpe) 16-21 21-18 21-12; Lost to Tanongsak (Tha) 22-20 21-16; Ajay Jayaram lost to Hafiz Hashim (Mas) 21-15 14-21 24-22
Women’s singles: Arundhati Pantwane bt Chen Hsiao Huan (Taipei) 18-21 21-17 21-19; bt Michelle Li (Can) 21-14 14-21 21-19
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