Saina storms into pre-quarters

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Beijing, Aug 10 (UNI) World number 16, Saina Nehwal continued with her winning ways as she overwhelmed Larysa Gryga of Ukraine to storm into the pre-quarterfinals of the Women's Badminton competition at the Olympic Games here today.

Saina had yesterday trounced her Russian opponent and this afternoon she accounted for another former Soviet republic's player after surviving some initial hiccups.

Playing at the Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium, the Indian took time to gauge her opponent - she was playing the Ukrainian for first time - before she pulled out all the stops to tame her 21-18, 21-10 in just 28 minutes.

In the first game, Saina led her rival 9-2 and looked set for an easy win but Gryga staged a fine rally and gave a run for the money to the Indian who, however, proved her superirity with powerful returns and smashes to clinch it.

The second game was totally dominated by the Indian who did not give any quarter to her rival and wrapped up the match rather easily.

Saina now faces the real challenge as she will most likely face the fourth seed Chen Wang of Hong Kong, who plays her second round match later today.

''It's going to be tough against her, no question about that,'' Saina, bathed in sweat, said after second round match.

''I cannot predict the outcome but I can assure all that I would put my 100 per cent tomorrow,'' she said.

Though it is going to be very hard to beat Wang, Saina exuded confidence of being third time lucky against her illustrious peer.

''For me, now each and every match is like the final. I'm feeling so good. My movements were great and shots were excellent too. There was no particular area I felt uncomfortable about.

''The crowd is great, you hardly see so many people cheering badminton players and the atmosphere is electric. I would put my best foot forward tomorrow,'' she added.

About her match against Gryga, she said she had to wait for her moment before going for the kill.

''I had not played her earlier, so of course I could not go all out right from the word go. So I needed time to pick her,'' she said.

UNI HSB RAR HT1138

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