Indian challenge ended at the French Open Super Series badminton tournament after top seed Saina Nehwal suffered a straight game defeat to Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon in the quarterfinals in Odense on Friday.
World No. 2 Saina, who came into the match with a 6-3 head-to-head record, lost 9-21 15-21 to Intanon, ranked 7th, in a women’s singles match that lasted 39 minutes at the Stade Pierre de Coube.
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In the prequarterfinals match, Saina had tamed Japanese Minatsu Mitani in straight games after two successive defeats against the Japanese at Japan Open and Denmark Open.
Among others, H S Prannoy, Ajay Jayaram, and women’s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa lost in the second round on Thursday.
In the second round match, Saina dished out a superb game to see off the World Championship bronze medallist Mitani 21-19 21-16 in a 41-minute match to set up a fight with eight seed Intanon.
In men’s singles, NG Ka Long Angus of Hong Kong ended the run of Prannoy, who had beaten two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan of China, with a 21-15 21-10 win in the second round.
Two-time Dutch Open winner Jayaram too failed to cross the second round after suffering a 18-21 8-21 loss to Tian Houwei of China.
2010 Commonwealth Games champions Jwala and Ashwini lost 15-21 18-21 to eight seeds Eefje Muskens and Selena Piek of Netherlands.