Failing yet again to perform to expected standards, India's top women's singles shuttler Saina Nehwal suffered a first round loss at the $300,000 Singapore Open Super Series in Singapore on Wednesday.
Old nemesis Eriko Hirose of Japan got past the Indian seventh seed 16-21, 21-15, 21-11 in a marathon match which lasted an hour and two minutes at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The World No 15 drubbed Saina the fourth time out of seven meetings in her career.
Other Indians in the category Tanvi Lad and Arundhati Pantawane also suffered similar fates as Chinese top seed Li Xuerui beat Tanvi 21-6, 21-11 in 24 minutes while Japan's Shizuka Uchida overcame Nagpur girl Arundhati 16-21, 21-11, 21-15 in 54 minutes.
However, PC Thulasi kept the Indian campaign alive in the group as she edged past New Zealand's Anna Rankin 21-13, 21-16 in 26 minutes to enter the second round. However, she next faces a tough task against Chinese World No 2 and second seed Yihan Wang.
Meanwhile in men's singles, B Sai Praneeth beat Malaysia's Mohamad Arif Abdul Latif 21-13, 21-15 in half an hour and Kerala shuttler HS Prannoy defeated Thai Thammasin Sitthikom 21-17, 14-21, 21-11 in one hour. But Mumbai's Anand Pawar wasn't so lucky as he went down to Indonesian Dionysius Hayom Rumbaka 10-21, 15-21 in 33 minutes.
Tarun Kona and Ashwini Ponnappa continued their dry run in mixed doubles as Singapore's Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Yu Yan Vanessa Neo beat the Indian combine in 28 minutes. The local pair won 21-15, 21-10 to advance to Round 2.
But it was good news for Indian men's doubles duo Alwin Francis and Arun Vishnu who entered the second round after moving past Chinese Taipei's Jui Wei Liang and Kuan Hao Liao 21-15, 16-21, 22-20 in 50 minutes.