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National champions Saina Nehwal, HS Prannoy crash out of China Open

PV Sindhu is the lone Indian left in the tournament.

New Delhi: National women’s singles champion Saina Nehwal suffered a straight games defeat to Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi to crash out of the China Super Series Premier event in Fuzhou on Thursday.

The second round match witnessed Nehwal playing a chasing game against the higher ranked opponent and lost it in 37 minutes. After a close first game, Saina lost the plot in the second to suffer a 21-18, 21-11 defeat.

It was her fourth defeat to Yamaguchi in fifth meeting. Her lone win came way back in 2014, at the same the venue. She then suffered loses at Malaysian Open, Denmark Open, and French Open — all this year.

Saina, who recently won the National Championships beating Sindhu in the final, beat USA’s Beiwan Zhang 21-12 21-13 in her tournament opener yesterday.

But it was altogether a different proposition against the fifth seed.

Men’s national champion HS Prannoy also suffered a second-round defeat to Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong, losing 21-19, 21-17 in 43 minutes.

Prannoy, who defeated world number 2 Kidambi Srikanth in the nationals, failed to raise the bar against the lowly opponent. It was their first meeting.

World number 11 Prannoy survived a thriller to beat Korea’s Dong Keun Lee 18-21, 21-16, 21-19 yesterday; but there was no such miracle for him today.

Yesterday, India’s Sourabh Verma lost to France’s Brice Leverdez 14-21, 21-15, 11-21 in the first round.

On a disappointing day, men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also failed to cross the opening hurdle, losing to Chinese pair of Cheng Liu and Nan Zhang 13-21 13-21.

The same script followed in the women’s doubles and mixed doubles events as well.

The women’s doubles pair of Ashwini Ponappa and N Siki Reddy were shown the door in the opening round by Korean duo of Ha Na Baek Chae Yoo Jung 14-21 15-21.

If that was not enough, Ponappa’s campaign ended in the tournament when she and Satwiksairaj Rankiredddy fought hard before losing 19-21 21-17 13-21 to Denmark’s Mathias Christiansen and Christinna Pedersen in the opening round of the mixed doubles.

In the last match of the day, another Indian men’s doubles made an early exit in the form of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy, who were shown the door by top seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo.

Manu and Sumeeth lost 18-21 15-21 against their higher- rated Indonesian opponents.

India’s top-seeded men’s single player Kidambi pulled out of the tournament.

PV Sindhu is the lone Indian left in the tournament. She takes on Han Yue of China in her second round match later in the day. It will be their first meeting.

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