Defending champion Saina Nehwal crashed out of the Hong Kong Super Series badminton tournament with a straight-game quarterfinal defeat to lower-ranked Tine Baun of Denmark while giantkiller RMV Gurusaidutt also made an exit on Friday.
Seeded fourth in the tournament, Saina lost 16-21 15-21 to the two-time All England champion Baun, seeded three places lower than the Indian, in a 29-minute quarterfinal clash in Hong Kong.
There was nothing much to separate the two in net and smash winners but the Dane won more rallies, which made the difference.
The first game was a neck-and-neck affair and the scoreline was 10-10 midway. The game could have gone either was but Baun surged ahead to lead 17-11 with five consecutive points.
The Indian tried her best to narrow the gap and took three straight points to make the scoreline 15-17 but her opponent showed tenacity to score four more points and take the first game.
In the second game, Sania simply lost the way after 4-4 and the Dane was ahead throughout. Saina recovered some lost ground by narrowing the gap at 14-16 but just like in the first game, Baun did not give her any chance to come back into the match.
Saina won one more point but she could not stop her opponent from taking the game easily.
Two other Indians, Gurusaidutt and Ajay Jayaram lost their respective men's singles quarterfinal matches and with that India's campaign in the Hong Kong Super Series ended today.
Gurusaidutt, who had stunned world number nine Pengyu Du of China in his previous round match, lost to second seeded Chen Long of China 13-21, 21-23 in a 43-minute contest.
To the credit of the Indian, he gave a scare to his much superior Chinese opponent in the second game which was stretched to duece.
The young Indian matched his Chinese opponent in rallies and net play but found wanting in smashes.
The first game was a no contest with Chen Long leading from the start to the end. Once the scoreline was 14-5 in favour of the Chinese, Gurusaiduttt seemed lost at sea.
The Indian, however, fought back superbly in the second game. He was trailing 9-16 at one time but recover to level the score at 20-20 and 21-21 only to fail to hold onto his nerves in the end against his much experienced opponent.
In another men's quarterfinals, Jayaram ran into top seeded Malaysian Chong Wei and lost 16-21 13-21 in a 31-minute contest.
India's mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V Diju had crashed out of the tournament in the second round while men's doubles duo of Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas met with the same fate.
Women's doubles pair of Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa could not get past the first round.