Saina Nehwal snapped her losing streak and saved India the blushes after advancing to the pre-quarterfinals of the French Open with a hard-fought 23-21, 21-17 win over World No. 25 Cheung Ngan Yi in Paris on Wednesday.
Nehwal, who has suffered three first-round exits in her last three tournaments, was made to sweat to overcome her opponent from Hong Kong.
Saina did save the day in what was an otherwise disappointing day for India with Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap both ousted in the opening round of the men’s singles event.
While Srikanth fought hard for 55 minutes against second seed Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei before losing 15-21, 21-7, 21-14, Kashyap was no match for Hong Kong’s Ng Ka Long Angus, losing 11-21 9-21.
The other Indian Sameer Verma too suffered the same fate as he lost 22-20 18-21 18-21 to Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto in the first round.
Shubhanker Dey now remains the lone Indian in the men’s singles contest, having progressed to the second round where he will be up against Shesar Hiren Rhustavito of Indonesia.
India registered seven losses on Wednesday in Round 1.
India’s challenge came to an end in the opening round of the mixed doubles event with the ouster of the pairs of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa and Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy.
While Rankireddy and Ponappa lost 17-21 18-21 against fourth seed Seo Seung Jae and Chae Yujung of Korea, Chopra and Reddy combination was shown the door by England’s Chris Adcock and Gabriellle Adcock 13-21 18-21.
It was a mixed outing for India in the men’s doubles event as Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty progressed to the second round but it was curtains for the other Indian pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy.
There was bad news for India in the women’s doubles event as well as the pair of Ashwini Ponappa and N Sikki Reddy lost 21-16, 13-21, 17-21 against fifth seed Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan of Korea.