Tragedy strikes at home for Saina | other | Hindustan Times
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Tragedy strikes at home for Saina

The world number four and top seed struggled with her rhythm and precision and bowed out 21-17, 21-19 against Ai Goto of Japan in 34 minutes.

other Updated: Apr 27, 2011 23:48 IST
Anamika Nandedkar

The inaugural India Open Super Series badminton tournament was over for the hosts less than 12 hours after it began.

The Siri Fort auditorium waited that long for Saina Nehwal, to kick start her campaign and were stunned into silence when she surrendered at the very first hurdle.

The world number four and top seed struggled with her rhythm and precision and bowed out 21-17, 21-19 against Ai Goto of Japan in 34 minutes. She could not hold back her tears and was consoled by her family members, peers and coaches.

She was slow, hesitant and made too many errors - very unlike her natural game. She stopped short of blaming her defeat on the ankle injury, which has been troubling her since the start of the year and praised her opponent's game.

"You can't always win," Saina said matter-of-factly with an expressionless face to reporters after the match.

"Everything was falling. I was not moving well and was not picking up strokes properly, especially my forehand. I was 19-16 up in the second game and made too many errors after that."

Whenever she got into the lead, Goto's cross-court smashes narrowed the gap.

Her ankle injury prevented her from moving freely on the court and she always seemed to be a couple of inches short of the shuttle.

"I had trouble with my ankle earlier but I was training and playing with it (the strap).

"It was hampering my movement. "I was not properly prepared. I was not ready for her strokes. I made errors while playing at the net, which I usually don't do. She played surprising well," she added.

Sourabh, Guru and kashyap advance

The morning belonged to Sourabh Verma and RMV Guru Sai Dutt, who registered victories over their more experienced and illustrious opponents.

Former junior national champion Guru accounted for fourth seed Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand 22-2, 18-21, 21-19 in while 20-year-old Sourabh Verma beat Sony Dwi Kuncoro 21-18, 21-19. P Kashyap also advanced to the second round with a comfortable 21-7, 21-15 win over Slovakia's Michal Matejka.

Good show in mixed doubles
There was something to smile for on the mixed doubles front. National champions Pranav Chopra and Prajakta Sawant defeated Japan's Kenta Kazuno and Ayaka Takahashi 21-14, 21-18 while Akshay Dewalkar and Pradnya Gadre beat Japanese pair Noriyasu Hirata/Miyuki Maeda 21-17, 21-17.