Saina, Jwala-Diju Still Keeping India’s Hopes Alive




Saina Nehwal

Saina Nehwal

India’s Saina Nehwal made it to the quarterfinals of the World badminton championships with a 21-14, 21-18 victory over Ella Diehl of Russia here on Thursday. In the mixed doubles, Jwala Gutta and V Diju sealed their place in the quarters beating Singapore’s Chayut Triyachart and Lei Yao 14-21, 21-18, 21-14.

World No.2 and second-seeded Saina took 47 minutes to battle past the Russian. She will meet the winner of the match between Jie Yao of the Netherlands and Chinese Shixian Wang, seeded sixth.

In the first game, Saina opened up a 13-5 lead before the Russian fought back to take five points in a row. The Indian, however, consolidated her position reeling off five points before closing out the game. In the second game, Saina made a headway start of 5-0, but the Russian fought back strongly to level at 6-6. It was a close battle from there on as the two were again leveled at 18-18. Saina kept her cool to pocket three points and the match.

The Indian mixed doubles team of Diju and Gutta, seeded ninth, fought their way back to the last eight stage. The Indians, who were quarter-finalists last year, now face the 12th seeds, South Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun and Ha Jung Eun for a place in the semi-finals.

“I don’t think we were at the top of our game,” said Diju. “Too many mistakes and it’s only later that we managed to piece our game together.””I think a day’s gap made us complacent,” said Gutta. “But we will be ready for the Korean pair. We would give our best to steer into the semis of the World Championships.”

By: Devesh D. Bhuwad

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