A breeze for the favourites
The afternoon session of the individual events for badminton at the Siri Fort Stadium did not produce any shock results.
Most of the top players were on court for a short period, as they wanted to wrap up their matches fast since they will play the third round as well as the quarterinals on Monday.
Hence getting more rest was on the mind of these players, thus the fast pace of the matches.
But there was plenty of excitement for the fans that turned up as the darling of Indian badminton, Saina Nehwal took to the courts for her second round singles match against Sarah Thomas of Wales.
With the crowd cheering her on, the Indian ace breezed through the first game, winning it 21-5 in just seven minutes. And the second was over at a blink as well as Saina raced to a 21- 9 win.
Saina will now play Caroline Black of Northern Ireland who won her match against Kate Foo Kune of Mauritius 21-14, 26-24.
Earlier, Malaysia’s Wong Mew Choo, the second seed, was on court for less than half an hour as she outclassed Mauritius’s Karen Foo Kune 21-7, 21-3. Mew Choo will meet Carrisa Turner of Wales in the third round.
Carissa had earlier defeated Elena Johnson of Guernsey 25-23, 19-21, 24-22 in a close contest.
Also making it through to the third round was Anna Rice of Canada who defeated her teammate Alex Bruce 21-7, 21-10. Her reward is a third round match against Gayle Lloyd of Guernsey.
“I am aiming for a medal as I have never won any medal at the Commonwealth Games,” said Anna who is the 6th seed.
“But I guess it will be an uphill task given the fact that I will meet Saina (Nehwal) in the last eight. It will be very tough but I aim to give her a good fight,” added Anna who will quit competitive badminton after the Commonwealth Games.
In the men’s singles, Muhd Hafiz Hashim progressed to the third round when he defeated David Snider of Canada 21-12,21-13.
“Since I am also playing in the doubles, I had to preserve my energy in the singles match,” said Hafiz, the 2002 singles gold medalist.
World number one Lee Chong Wei also moved with relative ease into the third round, defeating Alex Pang of Canada 21-11, 21-10. And it will be another easy match for Chong Wei in the third round, as Juma Muwowo from Zambia is not expected to pose problems.
Also progressing was England’s Rajiv Ouseph who had it easy against Enejoh Abah of Nigeria, winning 21-8, 21-10.
Rajiv, who will play N. Karunaratne of Sri Lanka in the third round, is expected to meet Singapore’s Derek Wong in the last eight and anticipates a tough match.
“Derek has a never say die attitude and he will be a difficult opponent and can be dangerous,” said Rajiv who is seeded second.
“The fact that we have to play two matches tomorrow will not make things any easier. But I am optimistic that I have what it takes to make the last eight and then the semis.”
England has another player in the third round as Carl Baxter too advanced with a 21-13, 21-1 win over Edicha Ocholi of Nigeria. Baxter will next meet Gareth Henry of Jamaica before an expected last eight clash against Chetan Anand of India.
In the mixed doubles, two Malaysian pairs advanced to the third round.
Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying, the 4th seeds, defeated Charles Pyne/Christine Leyow of Jamaica 21-12, 21-14 and will meet James Phillips/Caroline Harvey in the third round.
Koo Kien Keat/Chin Ee Hui will take on the 6th seeds, Toby Ng/Grace Gao of Canada in the third round. The Canadians progressed after they defeated Martyn Lewis/Sarah Thomas of Wales 21-6, 21-14.
The men’s doubles first round saw an exciting tie between Ola Fagbemi/Jinkan Ifraimu of Nigeria and Watson Briggs/Paul van Rietvelde of Scotland.
The fans were kept on their edge of their seats in the first set, with the Scots pulling off a narrow 23-21 win. But the Nigerian pair hit back to take the second game 21-16 to force a third.
But Briggs/Rietvelde managed to pull through the third, winning 21-16