London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal advanced to the quarterfinals of the Orleans Masters badminton tournament after prevailing over France’s Marie Batomene in the women’s singles second round here on Thursday. Running against time to make it to her fourth Olympics, Saina recovered from the opening game reversal to see off world no. 65 Marie 18-21 21-15 21-10 in a 51-minute clash in the Super 100 event, which is part of BWF’s revised Olympic qualification period.
The fourth seeded Indian, who had pulled out of last week’s All England Championships due to a thigh injury, will face either France’s Yaelle Hoyaux or Malaysia’s Iris Wang next.
Ira Sharma, ranked 162, also made it to the quarterfinals after beating Bulgaria’s world no. 71 Mariya Mitsova 21-18 21-13 in 32 minutes. The 21-year-old Indian is likely to clash against Denmark’s Line Christophersen next.
On Wednesday, Commonwealth Games bronze medallists Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy, seeded eighth, scraped past the Denmark duo of Amalie Magelund and Freja Ravn 21-9 17-21 21-19 in women’s doubles. Seventh seeded men’s doubles pair of MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila notched up a 21-14 21-16 win over English pair of Matthew Clare and Ethan Van Leeuwen.
Another Indian men’s doubles pair of Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnu Vardhan Goud Panjala beat Indonesian pair of Abiyyu Fauzan Majidand Habib Alfariz 21-10 21-17. However, Mithun Manjunath went down fighting 21-23 21-9 22-24 to Germany’s Kai Schaefer in a gruelling contest.