Ashwini-Gutta

Birmingham, Mar 5: Indian women’s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa crashed out of the All England Badminton Championships as they suffered straight-game defeat at the hands of top seeded Chinese duo of Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei in the second round here. Gutta and Ponnappa lost 10-21 13-21 to their formidable Chinese opponents in a 36-minute second round contest. The Indians were simply outplayed by the Chinese who never allowed their opponents to make a fightback.

Meanwhile, Saina Nehwal and the fast-rising H S Prannoy notched up contrasting wins in the women’s and men’s singles competitions respectively to reach the second round at Barclaycard Arena. Olympic bronze medallist, Saina, seeded third, hardly broke a sweat before getting past Indonesia’s Bellaetrix Manuputty 21-8 21-12, while Prannoy eked out a hard-fought 16-21 21-8 21-18 win over France’s Brice Leverdez in the opening round last night.

World No. 3 Saina will next take on Korean qualifier Kim Hyo Min, while Prannoy faces England’s Rajiv Ouseph in the second round. There was heartbreak for World No. 5 K Srikanth and Ajay Jayaram as they failed to cross the first hurdle and crashed out of the competition. While fourth seed Srikanth lost to Kento Momota of Japan 18-21 21-12 15-21 in an hour and six minutes match, Jayaram too fell by the wayside after more than an hour long match against China’s Tian Houwei 14-21 21-19 14-21.

Parupalli Kashyap had also crashed out in the first round, while men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri-B Sumeeth Reddy registered a stunning win over seventh seeded Chinese duo of Chai Biao and Hong Wei.