Korea Open: Saina Nehwal only Indian to advance to Round of 16 as Sameer Verma, Vaishnavi Reddy Jaka eliminated
Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal is the only Indian remaining in the Korea Open, after beating Kim Hyo-min in straight sets. Sameer Verma and Vaishnavi Reddy were unable to win their matches.
Seoul: Saina Nehwal emerged as the lone Indian survivor at the USD 600,000 Korea Open after reaching the pre quarter-finals with a straight-game win over Korea's Kim Hyo-min at the BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament on Wednesday.
The former world no 1 Indian, who won a Commonwealth Games gold and a bronze at the 18th Asian Games this year, defeated Kim Hyo-min 21-12, 21-11 in a lop-sided opening round contest. The fifth seeded Indian will face a local qualifier Kim Ga-eun next.
However, it was curtains for Swiss Open champion Sameer Verma and rising shuttler Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka.
While Sameer, who had secured the Hyderabad Open title early this week, ran out of steam against Denmark's Anders Antonsen, going down 21-15, 16-21, 7-21 in a men's singles match, young Vaishnavi was ousted 10-21, 9-21 by sixth seed Beiwen Zhang of USA.
Saina didn't face much competition from her first-round opponent as she opened up a 6-2 lead early on and then jumped to a 12-3 advantage before slowly and steadily moving ahead to pocket the first game.
In the second game, Saina again moved to a 5-2 lead first and kept distancing herself from Kim, who tried to stay close to the Indian. But Saina was too tough for the Korean as she moved to 18-10 and then sealed the contest comfortably.
Sindhu is one of the favourites for the gold, especially in the absence of defending champion Carolina Marin, who missed the Games due to an injury.
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"In April, when the situation was pretty bad in India, seeing so many people die because of COVID was tough. In my family, I lost my maternal grandfather, it was a difficult time," he said.
"Indian Badminton has seen great success with two successive medals coming from Olympics and with this latest news of the World Championships is the right stimulant for the game," BAI general secretary Ajay Singhania said.