Twenty-five points on the trot makes Quarter for Saina
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She's known for grimy, grinding dogfight battles in badminton, having even contested a 30-29 last set-score marathon humdinger. But her latest win in the pre-quarters of the Denmark Open Super Series saw Saina Nehwal play one of the strangest matches of her career — one where she racked up 25 straight points against an opponent. Playing the diminutive Japanese Minatsu Mitani, Nehwal was 0-15 down in the opening set, but went on to claim it 21-15 and the next 21-14 to make the quarters of the Premier Super Series event at Odense.
Nehwal's trance-like non-start to the match was edging towards a sleep-walk as she fell behind 0-15 against the Japanese, ranked No 28.
But snapping out of that inactivity, she went on to collect a blitzing 21 points straight to win the set in a start-to-stop hurry. The second set proved to be a tease for the Japanese, who fell back 0-4, and despite inching close at 10-11, could never quite take the lead against the Indian and submitted without a fight. All of this happened in 19 minutes, also one of the shortest international matches the Indian ranked No 4 has played in her career.
Verma out after big scalp
Rising Indian shuttler Sourabh Verma stunned world number eight and home favourite Peter Hoeg Gade in straight games to enter the second round of the men's singles competition. The 19-year-old Indian prevailed 21-18 21-14 against the sixth-seeded former All England champion in a contest lasting 42 minutes. However he could not maintain the momentum and lost 21-19, 21-17 to Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro ending the Indian challenge in men's singles.
Compatriot Ajay Jayaram also put up a brave fight against seventh-seeded Chinese Pengyu Du before losing 21-19 8-21 9-21 in the first round. Ajay started off brilliantly but his challenged fizzled out in the decider.
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