Top Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal suffered a second consecutive opening round defeat as she went down to Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt of Denmark to bring curtains on the country’s campaign in the Thailand Masters badminton tournament on Wednesday.
The fifth-seeded Saina lost to unseeded Kjaersfeldt 13-21, 21-17, 15-21 in a hard-fought 47-minute contest. World number 18 Saina had a 4-0 head-to-head record against the number 29 Dane before Wednesday’s match.
Saina never looked comfortable against Kjaersfeldt who started the game with high intensity and clinched the first game quite comfortably.
However, in the second game, Saina showed some fighting spirit and used all her experience to seal the closely-fought game at 21-17.
The deciding game began on even as both players gave each other tough run for their money. But after the break, the Danish player took the control of the match and sealed the game 21-15, thus winning the match.
With Saina’s defeat, India’s campaign came to an end in the BWF World Tour Super 300 event.
Saina had also lost in the opening round in the Indonesia Masters last week after entering the quarterfinals in the Malaysia Masters.
Earlier in the men’s singles event, the trio of Kidambi Srikanth, Sameer Verma and H S Prannoy, too, faltered in the first round.
Indian shuttlers thus continued their poor run after making early exits in Malaysia and Indonesia Masters earlier this month.
Verma lost to Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia 16-21 15-21 in a 39-minute men’s singles match. The story went on similar lines for the fifth seeded Srikanth, who went down to Shesar Hiren Rhustavito of Indonesia 21-12 14-21 12-21, in a match that lasted 48 minutes.
This was Srikanth’s third consecutive first-round exit this season. It was curtains for ‘giant-killer’ Prannoy too as he lost a hard-fought encounter against Maaysia’s Liew Daren 17-21, 22-20, 19-21.