Orleans Masters: Saina, Srikanth win opening matches

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File photo of Indian Badminton players Srikanth Kidambi and Saina Nehwal.

Paris: London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal crushed Ireland’s Rachael Darragh in straight games in the women’s singles opening round to make a winning start to her campaign at the Orleans Masters here on Wednesday.

The fourth seeded Indian, who is desperately seeking ranking points to make it to her fourth Olympics, took just 21 minutes to beat Rachael 21-9 21-5 and set up a clash with France’s Marie Batomene here.

Saina had pulled out of the opening round of All England Open Championships last week after suffering a thigh injury.

Top Indian male shuttler Kidambi Srikanth, seeded number one, entered the third round with a 21-15 21-10 win over compatriot Ajay Jayaram 21-15 21-10 in 25 minutes. In the first round, Srikanth had received a bye, while Ajay had prevailed 19-21 23-21 21-16 over fellow Indian Alap Mishra.

Mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy beat Austria’s Dominik Stipsits and Serena Au Yeong 21-7 21-18.

Ira Sharma, who was promoted to the main draw from the women’s singles qualification, saw off France’s Leonice Huet 12-21 21-14 21-17 and will square off against Bulgaria’s Mariya Mitsova.


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