Saina, Srikanth out as Indian challenge ends (2nd Ld)
Bangkok, Jan 14 (IANS) Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal crashed out of the Thailand Open in the second round while Kidambi Srikanth forfeited his match with an injury as the Indian challenge came to an end on Thursday.
Mixed doubles pair Ashwini Ponnappa and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy were the last Indian contenders to be knocked out of the tournament, losing 21-12, 21-17 to Hong Kong’s Tak Ching Chang and Wing Yung Ng.
Saina lost 23-21, 14-21, 16-21 to local Busanan Ongbamrungphan in a match that lasted for 68 minutes to bow out of the Super 1000 tournament.
Saina started the first game well but she squandered some chances and conceded a 9-11 lead at the mid-game break. However, the Olympic bronze medallist came back strong and used all her experience to take the first game 23-21 in 26 minutes.
Ongbamrungphan then staged a stunning comeback and didn’t let her Indian opponent rule the next game, winning it 14-21 and taking the match into the decider.
In the final game, the Thai upped her game by a notch and won 21-16 to enter the quarterfinals.
In the previous round, Saina had registered a comfortable 21-15, 21-15 win over Kisona Selvaduray of Malaysia.
With Saina’s loss, India’s challenge in the women’s singles event has come to an end at the tournament. Sixth-seeded PV Sindhu had lost her opening round match 21-16, 24-26, 13-21 to world No.18 Mia Blichfeldt on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in men’s singles, Kidambi Srikanth also pulled out of the tournament before the start of his second-round match due to a calf muscle strain. Kidambi was slated to face Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia but the latter will go through with the Indian pulling out and offering a walkover.
“Very sad to let you all know that I have been advised to pull out of Thailand Open due to a calf muscle strain. I am hoping to be fit by next week for the next round of the Thailand leg,” Srikanth said in a tweet.
Rankireddy and Ashwini lost 12-21, 17-21 to Hong Kong pair Tak Ching Chang and Wing Yung Ng in a match that lasted 29 minutes. The Indians started both games of the match in the lead but struggled to keep up. While Ashwini and Rankireddy won four consecutive points to level the score 17-17 in the second game, they conceded three points after that to be knocked out of the tournament.
Earlier, star Indian men’s doubles pair of Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty were beaten 19-21, 17-21 in a hard-fought match against the second-seeded Indonesian duo of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan in a match that lasted 34 minutes.