Fuzhou (China): There was no end to Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal’s lackluster run of form as the Olympic bronze-medallist crashed out of the China Open here Wednesday following a straight-game opening-round defeat to local favourite Cai Yan Yan.
The world No.9 Saina lost 9-21 12-21 in the women’s singles clash that lasted just 24 minutes to make an early exit from the USD 700,000 tournament.
However, in men’s singles, Saina’s husband and personal coach Parupalli Kashyap registered a comfortable straight-game victory over Thailand’s Sitthikom Thammasin.
The Indian outsmarted his Thai opponent 21-14 21-3 in 43 minutes. He will face seventh seed Victor Axelson of Denmark in the second round.
World Championships bronze medallist B Sai Praneeth also made it to the second round beating Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia 15-21 21-12 21-10 in a 52-minute hard-fought opening round battle. The world No. 11 Indian will take on fourth seed Anders Antonsen of Denmark in the next round.
However, it was curtains for compatriot Sameer Verma as he lost 18-21 18-21 against Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu in a opening round contest that lasted 45 minutes.
The mixed doubles pairing of Pranav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy also made a first-round exit. The duo went down 14-21 14-21 to Wang Chi-Lin and Cheng Chi Ya of Chinese Taipei.
The 29-year-old Saina has been going through a tough phase with regards to her fitness since claiming the Indonesia Masters in January.
She made three consecutive first-round exits before reaching the quarterfinal of the French Open last month.
To add to India’s woes, the men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy also crashed out in the first round, losing 21-23 19-21 to Malaysian combination of Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik.