Orleans Masters: Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth off to winning start; Kiran George stuns HS Prannoy
Fourth seeded Saina, who is desperately seeking ranking points to make it to her fourth Olympics, took just 21 minutes to beat Rachael 21-9 21-5 and set up a clash with France's Marie Batomene.
Paris: Top shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth scripted easy wins but Kiran George stunned HS Prannoy in the second round of the Orleans Masters Super 100 tournament on Wednesday.
The fourth seeded Indian, who is desperately seeking ranking points to make it to her fourth Olympics, took just 21 minutes to beat Rachael 21-9 21-5 and set up a clash with France's Marie Batomene.
Saina had pulled out of the opening round of All England Open Championships last week after suffering a thigh injury.
Top Indian male shuttler Kidambi Srikanth, seeded number one, entered the third round with a 21-15 21-10 win over compatriot Ajay Jayaram 21-15 21-10 in 25 minutes.
In the first round, Srikanth had received a bye, while Ajay had prevailed 19-21 23-21 21-16 over fellow Indian Alap Mishra.
Former Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap, meanwhile, bowed out after losing 7-21 17-21 to France's Toma Junior Popov, while Ditlev Jaeger Holm of Denmark ended India's BM Rahul Bharadwaj's campaign with a 21-15 21-19 win.
The 21-year-old Kiran, who had shocked Netherland's All England semi-finalist Mark Caljouw 13-21, 21-18, 22-20 in his first round match, produced yet another stunning win as he knocked out former top 10 player Prannoy 13-21 21-16 23-21 in a 59-minute match.
Mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy beat Austria's Dominik Stipsits and Serena Au Yeong 21-7 21-18. The Indian duo will meet Denmark's Niclas Nohr and Amalie Magelund next.
Ira Sharma, who was promoted to the main draw from the women's singles qualification, saw off France's Leonice Huet 12-21 21-14 21-17 and will square off against Bulgaria's Mariya Mitsova.
On Tuesday, India's Kiran George had stunned Netherland's Mark Caljouw, who had reached the semi-finals of All England Championships last week, 13-21 21-18 22-20 in a thrilling opening round match.
Mithun Manjunath beat France's Lucas Claerbout 21-14 21-10 but Subhankar Dey lost 17-21 13-21 to Denmark's Ditlev Jaeger Holm in the opening round.
Tokyo Olympics 2020: Seema Bisla becomes fourth woman wrestler to qualify; Sumit Malik settles for silver
Seema Bisla on Friday became the fourth Indian woman wrestler to qualify for the Tokyo Games by reaching the final of the 50kg competition
Tokyo Olympics 2020: Indian shuttlers hoping to qualify for Games likely to travel to Malaysia via Qatar, says BAI
Just two more Olympic qualifiers are remaining – Malaysia Open (25-30 May) and Singapore Open (1-6 June) – before the 15 June deadline and things look grim for Saina and Srikanth with Malaysia and Singapore deciding to temporarily impose travel bans from COVID-ravaged India.
Overseas spectators have already been barred from the Games for the first time, and a ruling on Japan-based fans was expected by the end of this month.