Saina Nehwal‘s poor form this year continued as the eighth seed lost to China’s Cai Yan Yan in the first round at the Hong Kong Open on Wednesday. In men’s singles, Sameer Verma also tasted defeat at the hands of Wang Tzu Wei.
Nehwal, who had lost to Yan last month in China Open lost the match 13-21, 20-22, making it five first round exits in six tournaments.
After losing the opening game 13-21, Nehwal showed fight and was leading the Chinese 19-18, but could not hold on to the lead as Yan made a strong comeback to claim the second game 22-20, sealing her second round entry.
Verma lost 11-21, 21-13, 8-21. Earlier, Kidambi Srikanth got a lucky bye in the first round after World No.1 Kenta Mamota pulled out of the competition.
The Indians remaining in the fray are PV Sindhu, who will take on Kim Ga Eun of Korea in women’s singles while HS Prannoy will face Huang Yu Xiang of China in Men’s Singles.
Women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will battle the Danish pair of Maiken Fruergaard and Sara Thygesen. Late in the day, Parupalli Kashyap will face Kenta Nishimoto while Sai Praneeth has a tough round one outing against No.3 seed Shi Yui Qi of China. Sourabh Verma will take on Brice Leverdez of France.
The in-form Men’s Doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankideddy and Chirag Shetty will open their campaign against Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi.