Dubai, Dec 18: India's top badminton players Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth took a big step on way to reaching the semifinals at the World Super Series Finals by securing second consecutive wins in their respective group here today.
Srikanth, who reached a career-high world number six in the rankings today, celebrated his rise on the world stage by beating eighth-ranked Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia 21-18, 21-13 at the Hamdan Sports Complex. It was Srikanth's first win over the Indonesian.
World number four Saina extended her domination over South Korea's Sung Ji Hyun with an emphatic 21-12, 21-18 victory. It was Saina's fifth win against Sung in six career meetings though the Indian had lost last time they played each other in the 2013 Denmark Open.
Saina had got the better of reigning Asian Games champion Shixian Wang in her opener yesterday. The heralded Indian led all the way in the first game and was leading 13-4 at one point. The next game was keenly contested and Saina held a slender 11-9 lead at the break.
Though the Indian maintained the lead, Sung kept coming back to ensure she stayed in the hunt. Saina changed gears from 17-16 and ran away with the game and match. She next faces another South Korean, Bae Yeon Ju, in her final match in Group A.
Srikanth too was convincing against Sugiarto, wrapping up the match in 38 minutes. He had beaten Kento Momota of Japan yesterday and plays his final Group B match against Jan O Jorgensen.