India’s campaign at the ongoing Korea Open Super 500 badminton tournament has gotten from bad to worse as star shuttler Saina Nehwal became the third victim on Wednesday. After PV Sindhu and B Sai Praneeth’s respective exits from the competition, Saina crashed out after retiring hurt 21-19, 18-21, 1-8 against Kim Ga Eun of South Korea in the first round women’s singles encounter. With Saina’s loss, India’s challenge in the women’s singles event has come to a disappointing end.
After winning the first game 21-19, Saina looked in complete control of the second before squandering out several opportunities to close out the match in her favour. In the last game, the 29-year-old shuttler was trailing 1-8 before she decided not to continue further due to an injury. Before the start of the contest, Saina boast off a near-perfect 2-0 head-to-head record against Korea’s Kim.
Saina has consistently failed to strike her top form this season following a spate of injuries which has bogged her down. The London Olympic bronze medallist suffered a first-round defeat in the China Open as well last week. The former world No. 1 Nehwal was beaten 10-21, 17-21 by World No. 19 Busanan Ongbamrungphan in a match that lasted over 44 minutes. It was Nehal’s second successive defeat to the Thai player.
Earlier, world champion – Sindhu couldn’t find a way past the American Beiwen Zhang and lost the match 21-7, 22-24, 15-21. Sindhu had defeated Zhang en route her World Championships gold at Basel earlier this month but the 11th seed got one back on the superstar Indian shuttler this time.
In men’s singles, B. Sai Praneeth made an early exit from the ongoing Korea Open Super 500 tournament after he was forced to retire midway in his first-round match against Anders Antonsen of Denmark on Wednesday.
Praneeth had lost the first game 9-21 and was trailing 7-11 in the second when he chose to retire because of injury and thus sending Antonsen through to the round of 16.