Saina Nehwal was knocked out of the All England Open Super 1000 tournament in the first round itself by world No 1 and defending champion Tai Tzu Ying. This was Nehwal’s eighth straight defeat against the player from Chinese Taipei – she hasn’t beaten Tai Tzu since 2013 now.
Tai Tzu started the match with her attack mode on, knowing Nehwal takes a while to settle in. She took a 6-2 lead in the first game before Nehwal began to claw back. It was 11-10 to the Chinese Taipei player at the interval and at that point it was still anyone’s game.
That soon became 14-14 as both players traded blows but then Tai Tzu broke free from there, winning seven straight points to take the first game 21-14.
The only way for Nehwal to come back into the match was if she tried and frustrated Tai Tzu with some good retrieving and force her to make mistakes. The Indian succeeded at that in the first half of the second game, even taking a three-point lead into the interval.
However, in the latter stages of the second game, Nehwal began to run out of gas as she engaged in long rallies with Tai Tzu. One particularly long rally, which Nehwal ended up losing to take the score to 16-13 in her favour, seemed to be the breaking point.
After that, it was all Tai Tzu again as she levelled the scores and then went on to wrap up the game and match 21-14, 21-18.