Defending champion Saina Nehwal emerged as the lone Indian survivor at the US $700,000 China Open Super Series Premier after PV Sindhu suffered a close defeat in the pre-quarterfinals of the women’s singles competition at Fuzhou on Thursday.
Top seed Saina, who had a 2-0 record against Tee Jing Yi ahead of the match, notched up a 21-10 19-21 21-19 win against the World No. 34 Malaysian.
However, the two-time bronze medallist at World Championship Sindhu blew away a first game lead and a 13-7 advantage in the second game to lose 21-18 18-21 16-21 to Shixian Wang of China in a match that lasted an hour and 28 minutes.
In the first game, Saina didn’t give any chance to Jing in the opening game as she dominated proceedings from the start to pocket the first game.
However, Jing came back strongly in the second match as she fought back from 5-8 and 8-11 deficit to eventually roar back into the contest.
In the decider, Jing had opened up a 6-2 lead early on but Saina drew parity at 8-8 and then got engaged in a tough battle with the Malaysian, who held the lead at 15-13 for a brief time before Saina stamped her authority and zoomed ahead.
In another pre-quarterfinal women’s singles match, Sindhu’s 4-3 record against Shixian meant little today as despite holding the edge early on in the match, she could not cross the finishing line.
Shixian enjoyed a 5-1 lead in the opening game but Sindhu caught up at 8-8. The Chinese once again broke off and led 16-12, but the Indian reeled off six points to move to 20-17, before closing the opening game.
The second round started with both shuttlers preying on each other’s errors. Shixian tried to vary the pace of the game and tested Sindhu with acute angled shots but she didn’t have the accuracy as Sindhu had most of the answers early on.
Most points came from unforced errors as the shuttles were either going wide and long or getting buried in the net. A bodyline smash and a cross court drop took Sindhu to a five-point advantage at the break at 11-6.