Indian ace shuttler Saina Nehwal’s inability to cross the first round of a tournament continued as she was knocked out of the China open losing in straight games in the opening-round to the local favourite Cai Yan Yan.
The world number 9 Saina looked totally off colour as she went down 9-21 12-21 in just 24 minutes against the world number 22 Cai Yan Yan.
Since claiming Indonesia Masters in January, Saina has been struggling to find her touch as she has been going through a rough patch with regards to her fitness.
She had to face three consecutive first-round exits in China, Korea and Denmark. Siana did show some glimpses of her old self at the French Open last month before she went down fighting to South Korea’s Se Young An in the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, in the men’ singles Saina’s husband Parupalli Kashyap brought smiles back on the faces of the Indian fans as he outplayed Sitthikom Thammasin of Thailand 21-14 21-13 in a 43-minute clash.
Kashyap will be up against the seventh seed Victor Axelson of Denmark in the second round. Also, Sai Praneeth advanced to second round after pipping Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia 15-21, 21-12, 21-10 in a hard fought encounter.
All did not turn out well for the Indians as the mixed-doubles pair of Pranav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy were shown the door in the first round. The duo were outsmarted by Chinese Taipei pair of Wang Chi-Lin and Cheng Chi Ya 14-21 14-21.
Earlier on Tuesday, the World champion PV Sindhu had made a shocking first round exit from the tournament after losing to Chinese Taipei’s Pai Yu Po.
With PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal out of the competition, the hopes of winning a medal in the women’s singles has faded. Nevertheless, now the fans have pinned their hopes on Parupalli Kashyap, Sai Praneeth along with men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy –Chirag Shetty and mixed pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy– Ashwini Ponnappa.