Saina enters 2nd round of All England C'ship
The Indian shuttler overcame a stiff challenge from Korean Seung Hee Bae before clinching the match 21-13, 21-16.
Birmingham: Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal made a winning start in the All England Badminton Championship by beating Korean Seung Hee Bae in straight games at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.
But the World No. 5 had to overcome a stiff challenge before clinching the first-round match by 21-13, 21-16. She will next play Tzu Ying Tai after the Chinese Taipai shuttler beat Linda Zechiri.
The Indian shuttler made a nervous start to the match before adjusting to the conditions better than her opponent.
Saina's chances of winning the prestigious event got better with two top players - Tine Baun and Yihan Wang pulling out of the tournament on Tuesday.
The fifth seed, who became the first Indian woman player to reach the semis of this tournament last year, has a very favourable draw devoid of any Chinese players in her half.
In doubles, Indian women's pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa also entered the next round while while Anand Pawar crashed out in men's singles.
Gutta and Ponnappa needed 23 minutes to send the Danish duo of Maria Helsbol and Anne Skelbaek packing 21-11 21-18 in the first round match.
In the second round, the Indian pair will take on Danish qualifiers Damkjaer Kruse and Marie Roepke who stunned seven seeded Indonesian duo of Meiliana Jauhari and Greysia Polii in another first round match.
Meanwhile, Anand Pawar went down fighting 16-21 18-21 to Thailand's Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk in a men's singles first round match which lasted 31 minutes.
Both the players had made it to the main draw after playing in the qualifying round.
(With input from agencies)