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Korea Open: Saina sets up Okuhara clash

Saina Nehwal

Seoul, September 27: India's Saina Nehwal is through to the quarterfinals of the Korea Open after a 21-18, 21-18 win against local hope Kim Ga Eun.

The victory achieved in 36 minutes has set the fifth-seed nicely for a blockbuster quarterfinal showdown against Nozomi Okuhara.

The Japanese former world champion and current world No.8 beat Hong Kong's Yip Pui Yin 21-16, 21-15 in another round-of-16 clash.

Saina is the only Indian left in the fray of the $600,000 Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Super 500 Series Tournament, after the early defeats of compatriots -- Swiss Open champion Sameer Verma and rising star Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka.

The two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist was in a class of her own against Kim, who had come through the qualifiers.

The gulf between the two players was quite evident on the courts. While Saina is ranked 10th, Kim is languishing 80th in BWF stakes.

It was the first meeting between the two.

The former world no. 1, who recently won the Asian Games bronze had earlier defeated another local hope -- Kim Hyo Min -- 21-12, 21-11 in a lop-sided opening round contest.

The 28-year-old did not face much competition from her first-round opponent as she opened up a 6-2 lead early on and then jumped to a 12-3 advantage before slowly and steadily moving ahead to pocket the first game.

In the second game, Saina again moved to a 5-2 lead first and kept distancing herself from Kim, who tried to stay close to the Indian.

But Saina was too tough for the Korean as she moved to 18-10 and then sealed the contest comfortably.

(With inputs from PTI and other sources).

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Story first published: Thursday, September 27, 2018, 14:53 [IST]
Other articles published on Sep 27, 2018
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