Saina Nehwal continued her impressive form with another straight-games win at the Barcelona Spain Masters 2020 on Thursday as she defeated Ukraine’s Maria Ulitina 21-10, 21-19 to advance into the quarter-final.
Meanwhile Ajay Jayaram recorded his first ever win against former no. 1 Indian badminton player Kidambi Srikanth, prevailing in straight games, 21-6, 21-17.
Saina Nehwal’s smooth sailing continues
The fifth-seeded Indian badminton player, Saina Nehwal, saw some competition from the Ukrainian shuttler Maria Ulitina in the early stages of the first game as the scoreline read 9-9 at one point. However, after going 11-8 into the break, Saina Nehwal won eight consecutive points to take the outcome beyond doubt before winning the match 21-10.
The second game saw the Ukrainian keeping the point gap tight throughout leading 11-9 at the break. However, Maria Ulitina allowed Saina Nehwal to level things at 13-all following which the Indian badminton player took control and eventually won it 21-19.
Kidambi Srikanth’s run ends at pre-quarters
After seeing off compatriot Subhankar Dey in the first round of the Barcelona Spain Masters 2020, Kidambi Srikanth was facing Ajay Jayaram in the second round, yet another countryman.
And while Kidambi Srikanth had never lost to Ajay Jayaram previously, Thursday saw the world no. 68 pulling off an upset over the world no. 12 in the men’s singles match.
After Kidambi Srikanth succumbed in the first game to lose 6-21, Ajay Jayaram capitalized on his momentum to win the second game 21-17, despite the higher-ranked Indian badminton player showing more grit in the time.
India’s other remaining men’s singles shuttler in the tournament, Sameer Verma saw off Germany’s Kai Schaefer 21-14, 16-21, 21-15 to advance into the next round of the Barcelona Spain Masters 2020.
In the doubles events, India saw both their pairs bowing out in round two. After the Indian badminton mixed doubles duo of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy were beaten 16-21, 21-17, 11-21 earlier in the day, the women’s pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy also lost 18-21, 14-21 to the Bulgarian pair Gabriela Stoeva and Stefani Stoeva.