Indo-Asian News Service
Birmingham, 7 March
Saina Nehwal had to go the full distance of three games to overcome American qualifier Beiwen Zhang 24-22, 18-21, 21-19, and enter the quarter-finals of the women’s singles at the All-England badminton championships.
Saina needed an hour to get past a fighting Zhang, who is a China-born former Singapore player, here on Thursday night. Saina now plays fourth seed Wang Shixian of China, who easily beat Chloe Magee of Ireland 21-15, 21-12. The seventh-seeded Indian, who was playing the American for the first time, lost the first game on extra points before pulling off the second. Then at 19-all in a closely-fought third game, Saina held her nerve to take the next two points to edge out her opponent, who in the first round had an easy win over Germany’s World No.11 Juliane Schenk. Saina’s compatriot and World No.10 Pusarla Venkata Sindhu found the going tough on her debut here on Wednesday night and lost to Sun Yu of China. Sindhu, who had a 2-1 record against Sun, was beaten in straight games, 21-16, 21-15 in 47 minutes. Wang Shixian and Wang Yihan continued to look the pick of the women’s singles challengers. China’s top seed Li Xuerui and Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand both dropped their opening games before getting past Minatsu Mitani of Japan and China’s Han Li respectively.