Odense: World No. 1 shuttler Saina Nehwal survived a scare before prevailing over Thailand’s Busanan Ongbumrungphan in the opening round to start her campaign on a positive note at the USD 650,000 Denmark Open Super Series Premier here on Wednesday.
The 2012 champion, Saina had beaten the Thai girl at the Japan Open this year but those results mattered little as the two squared up in their first game of the tournament.
After the end of the gruelling contest which lasted an hour and nine minutes, Saina saw off Busanan 23-21 14-21 21-18 in the women’s singles match.
The World Championship silver medallist will next take on the winner of the match between Japan’s Minatsu Mitani and Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk.
Busanan dominated the proceedings early on when she opened up a 8-4 lead, but Saina clawed back at 9-9. The Indian tried to keep her nose ahead but the Thai girl once again wrested control at 20-18.
However, a gritty Saina didn’t give up and eventually turned the tables and pocketed the first game after grabbing three straight points from 20-21.
In the second game, Busanan upped the tempo and once again surged ahead at 7-4. Saina tried to catch up but the world No. 17 Thai broke off at 9-9 and never looked back to roar back into contest.
In the decider, Saina held on to a 6-2 lead early on but Busanan caught up at 6-6 and then moved neck and neck with the Indian till 11-11. After the break, Saina changed gears and zoomed ahead with a five point burst at 13-12 to move to 18-12 lead.
The Thai girl narrowed the gap but could never bridge it as Saina marched on to the second round.
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