Saina Nehwal: The only silver lining at All England as other Indian shuttlers make a quick exit

Saina Nehwal

World No. 7 Saina Nehwal started off with an easy win to begin her campaign at All England Badminton Championship over Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour. She not only registered an easy win over her opponent but was also the lone Indian to make it to the next round, as other shuttlers faltered.

The 23-year old thrashed Kirsty Gilmour in straight games 21-15, 21-6.  She just took 32 minutes to get past the world no. 20. The Olympic Bronze medallist next faces American qualifier Beiwen Zhang, who got a walkover from Germany’s World No.11 Juliane Schenk.

Title hope Saina Nehwal was the lone survivor in an overall disappointing day for the Indian shuttlers. Her contemporary PV Sindhu failed to make a mark in her debut at the All England as she lost her first round match to China’s Sun Yu. The world no. 10 went down her opponent 6-21, 15-21 in 47 minutes.

The men’s singles saw Commonwealth Games bronze medallist P. Kashyap going down fighting to fifth seed Kenichi Tago of Japan. The match between the two went on for a long 75 minutes, before the Indian lost 21-14 19-21 17-21.

2014 India Open Grand Prix Gold finalist Srikanth Kidambi too failed to cross the first hurdle as he lost to Japan’s Kento Momota 11-21 15-21.

The mixed double’s pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and Tarun Kona lost their opening round match to the fourth seed pair of Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen. In a quite a lop-sided affair, their match stretched just above 30 minutes with the final scoreline reading 13-21, 16-21 for the Indian pair.

After the first day dismal performance by the Indian shuttlers, failing to make it to the main draw in form of doubles specialist pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, it deteriorated further the second day.

Now all eyes would be on the Hyderbadi girl Saina Nehwal to make memorable tournament for the Indian side, which so far looked lacklustre.