Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal, P.V. Sindhu and Parupalli Kashyap advanced to the pre-quarterfinals of the World Championships in their respective categories at the Tianhe Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday.
World No.3 Saina hammered Russia's Olga Golovanova 21-5, 21-4 in only 23 minutes in their first ever encounter. In the women's singles pre-quarters, Saina will face Thai 15th seed Porntip Buranaprasertsuk against whom the Hyderabadi has a 5-0 record.
Saina, who took to the court for the first time after her quarterfinal exit at the Singapore Open Super Series in June, began her campaign with a few conservative rallies before stepping up the pressure and took 13 points in a row to pocket the first game.
The second game also proved to be a one-sided affair with the Indian star toying with her opponent.
"It was a good match. I was playing her for the first time but it went on pretty well," said Saina.
Saina's citymate Sindhu won her debut World Championship match and reached the pre-quarters after having to dig deep against Japan's Kaori Imabeppu, beating her in one of the longest matches of the day. The 10th seed won 21-19, 19-21, 21-17 in one hour and 11 minutes to take a 2-0 lead in career meetings over the Japanese.
However, the 18-year-old next faces an extremely difficult task against second seed and defending champion Yihan Wang of China, who beat the Hyderabadi at the Sudirman Cup in May in their only meeting.
"I am feeling good with the way I played today. It was a good match. I could have won the second game but few errors cost me. I have already played Yihan once in Sudirman Cup. I had taken the match to three games. So I will give my 100 percent tomorrow and hopefully will do well," Sindhu said.
Having endured a tough opening round match, men's singles 13th seed Parupalli Kashyap got a breather Wednesday when his opponent Petr Koukal retired after just 11 minutes. The Czech retired when the Indian was leading 14-5 in the first game. Koukal had injured his knee in the opening round and felt that he could not continue further.
Speaking about his third round encounter against Hong Kong's sixth seed Yun Hu, Kashyap said, "He has very good strokes. But I have prepared well for the championship and I am looking forward to tomorrow's match. It should be good and I will give it my best."
However, it was the end of the road for Ajay Jayaram who started the tournament on a promising note. Jayaram lost to Spain's Pablo Abian 9-21, 17-21 in 31 minutes after ousting Hong Kong's 12th seed Wing Ki Wong in the first round Monday.
India's doubles campaign also came to an end as Tarun Kona and Arun Vishnu also lost their men's doubles second round match. Indonesian 15th seeds Alvent Yulianto Chandra and Markis Kido beat the Kerala shuttlers 21-15, 13-21, 21-17 in 40 minutes.
Second round results:
Women's singles: 3-Saina Nehwal bt Olga Golovanova (Russia) 21-5, 21-4; 10-P.V. Sindhu bt Kaori Imabeppu (Japan) 21-19, 19-21, 21-17.
Men's singles: Ajay Jayaram lost to Pablo Abian (Spain) 21-9, 21-17; 13-P. Kashyap bt Petr Koukal (Czech Republic) 14-5 (retired).
Men's doubles: Arun Vishnu/Tarun Kona lost to 15-Alvent Yulianto Chandra/Markis Kido (Indonesia) 21-15, 13-21, 21-17.