Top Indian picks at the Orleans Masters keep India’s hopes alive as both Saina Nehwal and Srikanth Kidambi have both qualified for the quarterfinals at the Palais des Sports in Orleans, Paris on Thursday.
While Olympic Bronze medallist Saina Nehwal had to fight it out in the women’s singles category against France’s Marie Batomene with a tight 18-21, 21-15, 21-10 win. However, Srikanth went past his Malaysian opponent Cheam June Wei with a straight forward 21-17, 21-20 win to proceed to the last eight.
The day started with Nehwal in action against her french opponent who did take advantage of her rough start. Although Bartomene was not that adept to capitalize on the mistakes from Nehwal, she was good enough to draw out points and soon she closed out the first game and piled up pressure on the Indian.
The Olympic Bronze medallist showed character in the second game as she enjoyed a big lead at the mid-break. However, some of her errors allowed Bartomene to close out that gap but Nehwal kept her focused and kept finding her way past the French shuttler.
The former World No. 1 fell behind at the start of Game 3 but then he got her mojo back by securing seven consecutive points. She started dictating the pace and it also forced Bartomene to take risks which instead resulted in mistakes for the French allowing Nehwal to go through. The 31-year-old will now face USA’s Iris Wang in the quarterfinals of the Orleans Masters.
Srikanth’s match against Cheam June Wei was closer than the scoreline suggested as the opening game saw a lot of ding dong between the two players. Both the players had the lead at some point but it was the Indian who held his nerves to take the early advantage. Cheam June did come up with an even better approach in the second game in terms of stroke play still the Indian shuttler was just too good for him.
To join these star Indian shuttlers, youngster Ira Sharma also progressed through to the quarterfinals of her event. Ira Sharma will be gearing up to face Denmark’s Line Christophersen.