Birmingham: Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal emerged as the lone survivor at the $400,000 All England Championship, thrashing Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour in straight-games to reach the second round even as compatriot P.V. Sindhu fell by the wayside.
The 23-year-old notched up an easy 21-15 21-6 win over Gilmour in a women’s singles match to bring some smiles back to the Indian camp after men’s singles players Parupalli Kashyap, Kidambi Srikanth and mixed doubles pair of Tarun Kona and Ashwini Ponnappa lost in the opening round.
World No. 10, Sindhu too found the going tough and her debut at the All England was spoilt by Sun Yu of China in another women’s singles match.
Sindhu, who held a 2-1 record against Sun before the match, suffered a 16-21 15-21 loss in a 47-minute match at the National Indoor Arena here.
Saina was the only bright spot on a dismal day for Indian badminton as she produced a dominating performance to sent Gilmour packing in 32 minutes. She will take on Beiwen Zhang of USA in the second round.
The seventh seeded Indian opened up a 3-1 lead early on and then kept increasing the distance even though Gilmour was breathing down her neck for most of the time but Saina eventually reeled off four straight points from 16-14 to pocket the first game.
In the second game, Saina was more dominating as she registered eight straight points to reach 10-2, then had two bursts of four straight points to move to 18-4. She didn’t give any chance to Gilmour to make any comeback and closed the door on her comfortably.
Saina had beaten Gilmour at the Denmark Open last year.
Sindhu, however, had a difficult time against Sun as she lagged behind 5-9 early on and though the Indian clawed back at 12-12 and then at 15-15, the Chinese reeled off five points on the trot to win the opening game.
In the second game too, Sun moved to 4-2 initially and then extended the lead to 11-7. Sindhu narrowed down the gap to 12-13 but the Chinese was successful in staving off the challenge from the 18-year-old Indian in the end.