Top Indian women’s singles shuttlers Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu made winning starts in the New Year, notching up first-round wins at the $500,000 Malaysia Open Super Series Premier at the Putra Stadium on Wednesday.
Eighth-seed Saina took 36 minutes to get rid of Indonesia’s Hera Desi 21-10, 21-16 in their first ever meeting. The World No. 8 will next take on Chinese world No. 30 Yao Xue. Saina has never faced Xue before.
World Championship bronze-medallist Sindhu had a tough outing against old foe Lindaweni Fanetri of Indonesia. But the world No. 11 Indian came out on top, winning 21-17, 21-18 in 43 minutes to take a 3-2 lead in the head-to-head.
Sindhu now faces even a tougher road ahead in Round 2 against South Korean sixth seed Yeon Ju Bae, who beat the Hyderabadi in their only match at the 2012 Japan Open.
It was a disappointing day for Mumbai’s Anand Pawar in men’s singles who could not put up much of a fight against Zhengming Wang of China and went down 12-21, 11-21 in 33 minutes.
RMV. Gurusaidutt, Parupalli Kashyap and Kidambi Srikanth are scheduled to play their respective men’s singles matches later in the day.