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.
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.