India’s challenge at the All England Open badminton championship came to an end on Friday after Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu lost their respective quarterfinals. There was anticipation that Sindhu and Nehwal might meet in the semi-finals but that hope was dashed in a matter of few hours.
Saina Nehwal lost 20-22, 20-22 to Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun in an intense match at the Barclaycard centre in Birmingham. (HIGHLIGHTS)
Saina started slow, allowing the Korean to go up 3-1 before she could level scores at 7-7. Saina then went on to win four points in a row to make it 11-7 in her favour but couldn’t keep up the tempo against the World No.3.
In fact she conceded the lead twice in the first set. She was leading 16-12 at one point but lost momentum before bouncing back again to square off at 20-20. But she couldn’t prevent losing the first set as the Korean won 22-20.
The Korean quickly took a 3-0 lead in the second set but Saina again displayed a few moments of brilliance by winning four consecutive points to lead 4-3. From there till 11-9, it looked like Nehwal had finally found her touch but the Korean started inching back after that.
Levelling at 11-11, Sung Ji Hyun then raced to a 16-14 lead before Saina’s last-ditched effort pulled back the score at 20-20. But like in the first set, there was no surprise despite the resistance put up by Saina.
Earlier, World No. 1 and top-seeded player from Chinese Taipei Tai Tzu Ying defeated PV Sindhu 21-14, 21-10 in around 45 minutes.