Lakshya Sen’s campaign ended in the first round of the German Open Super 300 event after losing to Christo Popov in straight games in Mulheim on Wednesday.
Mithun Manjunath, Malvika Bansod and Tasnim Mir also lost in their first-round matches as India’s campaign ended on day one.
The world No 12 Sen, seeded sixth in the event, never really got into his groove as Frenchman Popov notched a relatively comfortable 21-18, 21-16 win.
Sixth seed Sen came into the match on a three-match unbeaten run over Popov and was expected to progress to the round of 16. However, it was Popov who started strongly in the match as he raced to a 11-7 lead in the first-game interval.
Sen came out stronger after the break eventually taking a 19-17 lead. Popov recovered to win the next four points and take a 1-0 lead and that proved to be a turning point.
The second game was a cake walk for the Frenchman won the first five points to increase the pressure on Sen. The Indian showed brief signs of a comeback late in the game but Popov got the job done to secure only his second win over Sen in six meetings.
It was somewhat similar to his defeat at India Open against Rasmus Gemke, where Sen started playing his best when the deficit was already too big to bridge. It was disappointing opening round defeat for him in Germany where he had defeated Viktor Axelsen in the semifinal last year. The BWF World Tour hasn’t started well for the Indian so far and he heads to All England Open next, not in the best of form.
Manjunath, up against Singapore’s fourth seed Loh Kean Yew, lost the first game 8-21 but roared back into the match to clinch the second game 21-19 and force a decider. However, the Singaporean secured his progress into the second round after winning the final game 21-11.
Bansod lost to China’s Wang Zhi Yi 21-13, 21-14 while Mir lost 8-21, 10-21 to Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong in the women’s singles round of 32. Mir had reached the main draw with a win in qualification on Tuesday.
In men’s singles qualification, Sankar Muthusamy Subramaniam had won the first round but couldn’t make it to the main draw after losing his second match on Tuesday. Ashwini Ponnappa and Sumeeth Reddy also bowed out in the opening round of mixed doubles main draw.