Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal’s lackluster run of form continued as the Olympic bronze-medallist crashed out of China Open in the first round in on Wednesday.
The World No 9 Saina lost 9-21, 12-21 to local favourite Cai Yan Yan in the women’s singles clash that lasted just 24 minutes to make an early exit from the $700,000 tournament in Fuzou.
In men’s singles, Parupalli Kashyap registered a comfortable straight-game victory over Thailand’s Sitthikom Thammasin while Sai Praneeth rallied to beat Tommy Sugiarto.
The Indian, who is Nehwal’s husband and personal coach as well, got the better of his Thai opponent 21-14 21-3 in 43 minutes. He will face seventh seed Victor Axelson of Denmark in the second round.
Sai Praneeth needed 52 minutes as he came from a game down to beat the Indonesian 15-21, 21-12, 21-10. He will next take on fourth seed Anders Antonsen.
Meanwhile, the mixed doubles pair of Pranav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy made a first-round exit. The duo went down 14-21 14-21 to Wang Chi-Lin and Cheng Chi Ya of Chinese Taipei.
The 29-year-old Nehwal has been going through a tough phase with regards to her fitness since claiming the Indonesia Masters in January. She made three consecutive first-round exits before reaching the quarterfinal of the French Open last month.
On Tuesday, PV Sindhu suffered a shock defeat as well, going down 13-21, 21-18, 19-21 to lower-ranked Pai Yu Po of Chinese Taipei in the opening round
With PTI Inputs