Saina Nehwal loses to Tai Tzu Ying, crashes out of French Open quarter-finals
Olympic medallist Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal’s impressive run at the French Open ended with yet another loss to world no 1 Tai Tzu Ying, this time at the quarterfinals of the BWF World Tour Super 750 tournament.
Saina looked in good touch initially but couldn’t match the pace of Tzu Ying later on to squander four game points and lose the opening game. She was no match to her rival in the second and eventually went down 20-22,11-21 in the quarterfinals.
It was Saina’s 12th straight defeat to the Chinese Taipei shuttler, who showed incredible temperament and determination to seal the contest after being 9-16 and 16-20 down in the opening game.
Saina yet again failed to crack the Tzu Ying code as she lost to the Chinese Taipei shuttler in the finals last week at Denmark Open. Tzu Ying now has an overwhelming 14-5 head-to-head record against Saina.
Saina, who played a three-game match against Nozomi Okuhara on Thursday, looked determined initially as she delayed her strokes a bit, covered the net well and made good line judgements to held a five point advantage at the first interval.
With soon to be husband Parupalli Kashyap guiding her from the back, Saina continued to play in the same rhythm to trouble Tzu Ying. The duo played some incredible rallies, despite the Taiwanese employing her deceptive strokes to make life difficult for the Indian.
From 9-16 behind, Tzu Ying, however, managed to reduce the margin to 15-16 after upping her pace. Tzu Ying seemed to crumble under a series of unforced errors as she hit the shuttle long and wide to gift Saina four game points. However, the Indian couldn’t make it count as Tzu Ying incredibly not only saved four game points but actually sealed the opening game with six straight points, breaking Saina’s heart on the way.
After the opening game reversal, Saina didn’t seem to be the same player as she lagged 1-5 in the second game. The Indian tried to construct points and moved to 6-7 after her rival hit long twice.
Saina tried to keep the shuttle at the back of the court but Tzu Ying rode on her stunning drop shots to enter the interval with a 11-6 advantage.
After the breather, Tzu Ying continued to find points even as Saina crumbled, hitting wide and long. She seemed to have no answers to her rivals superior game, ending up giving 17-8 lead to Tzu Ying.
In the end, Tzu Ying earned 11 match points after Saina found the net. The Indian saved two match points but the Taiwanese soon cemented her place in the semi-finals when Saina erred again. Earlier, Indian ace P V Sindhu advanced to the quarterfinals with a straight-game win over Japan’s Sayaka Sato but B Sai Praneeth crashed out in men’s singles on Thursday night.
Sindhu, seeded third, dished out a compact game to outwit Sayaka 21-17 21-16 in a second round match on Thursday to set up a clash with seventh seeded Chinese He Bingjiao.
However, Praneeth was no match for Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie of Indonesia, going down 16-21 14-21 in a men’s singles match.
The men’s doubles pairs of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty and Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy too put up a good show, progressing to the quarterfinals with straight game wins.
While Satwik and Chirag defeated China’s He Jiting and Tan Qiang 21-13 21-19, Manu and Sumeeth stunned third seeded Chinese combination of Liu Cheng and Zhang Nan 21-14 21-16 in another match.
However, it was curtains for Meghana Jakkampudi and Poorvisha S Ram as the duo went down 15-21 13-21 to fourth seeded Indonesian pair of Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu.