Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth outwitted two opponents who have troubled them more often than not in recent times to enter the quarterfinals of the $750,000 French Open in Paris, on Thursday.
Defending champion Srikanth defeated his demons to beat South Koren Lee Dong Keun for the first time in three meetings.
The world No. 25 has always enjoyed the upper hand in their previous meetings but the Indian fifth seed was in no marathon contest that lasted an hour and 13 minutes. World No 6 Srikanth, who has not won a title since his triumph in the French capital last year, upped his game to enter the Super 750 tournament.
However, Srikanth faces a very difficult prospect up ahead as he will take on world and Asian champion Kento Momota on Friday. The world No 1 and top seed has a 9-3 advantage against the Pullela Gopichand protege, who has not beaten the Japanese in the last six meetings.
Later in the day, an in-form Saina displayed superb skills to defeat former world champion Nozomi Okuhara 10-21,21-14, 21-17 in another enthralling contest between two Olympic bronze medallists that lasted an hour and 12 minutes.
This in the world No 9 Saina’s second successive victory over the Japanese eighth seed after she beat her last week. The Hyderabadi, who reached the French Open women’s singles final way back in 2012, extended her career record to 8-4 against Okuhara.
In similar like Srikanth’s, the unseeded Saina faces an uphill task of taking on Asian Games gold medallist and top seed Tai Tzu Ying in a repeat of Sunday’s Denmark Open final.
The unfancied Saina will look to beat the Chinese Taipei girl for the first time since March 2013.
Though the Indian has a 5-13 record against Tai, the reigning two-time Asian champion had won the last successive 11 contests between the two, including the summit clash on Sunday.
The top seed has a 5-0 record against Saina this year alone.
From Online Sources