Star Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal on Thursday crashed out of China Open Superseries Premier after losing in the second round of women’s singles match. Nehwal lost in straight games by 18-21, 11-21 against fifth-seeded Japanese shuttler Akane Yamaguchi. The 27-year old had aced past USA’s Beiwan Zhang by 21-12, 21-13 in the first round, but failed to go past Yamaguchi. It was her fifth encounter with her Japanese counterpart, whom she had defeated only once before.
Nehwal, who recently defeated 2016 Rio Olympics silver medal winning shuttler PV Sindhu to claim her third National Badminton Championship title, had earlier won the tournament in 2014.
Unfortunately for India, the disappointment did not end with Nehwal, as World No. 11 player HS Prannoy also registered a shock defeat against China’s Cheuk Yiu Lee in straight games by 21-19, 21-17. Prannoy had booked his date with Lee by defeating Korea’s Lee Dong Keun by 18-21, 21-16, 21-19 in the first round.
World No. 2 Sindhu’s victory against Japan’s Sayako Sato proved to be the only saving grace for India. Sindhu defeated World No. 13 player in straight games by 24-22, 23-21, in a match that went for almost an hour. Sindhu will now take on China’s Han Yue, who defeated Canada’s Brittney Tam to go to the third round.