Saina Nehwal bows out of French Open
Paris: Ace India shuttler Saina Nehwal crashed out of the French Open Super Series after going down to World No. 2 Shixian Wang of China in a hard-fought women's singles quarterfinal contest here.
Seeded fifth, Saina posed a quite a challenge to her Chinese rival but in the end it was a case of so close, yet so far for the Indian who lost 19-21 21-19 15-21. The battle lasted an hour and 10 minutes here last night.
Having lost the opening game, the world number six Indian bounced back to snatch the second but failed to sustain the pressure in the deciding game against a superior opponent.
The London Olympics bronze-medallist looked strong and confident in the opening game. Having broken away from a 5-5 tie, the Indian surged ahead to take a 10-6 lead and then in no time extended it to 14-8.
However, at 17-13, Saina failed to tighten the noose and allowed her opponent to climb back into the game. Wang bagged six consecutive points to first tie the scores at 17-17 and then take a 19-17 lead.
Although Saina earned a couple of points to inch closer by making it 19-20, the Chinese shut the door on her 21-19 in the first game.
The second game was a neck-to-neck affair with none of the two conceding any massive lead. At the break, Saina was ahead only by a slender margin of 11-10.
Saina then went ahead to 14-13 before the Chinese forced the Indian to make some errors and take a 18-15 lead.
But the shuttler from Hyderabad, determined not to give away so easily, compelled her rival to move around the court and tired her out.
Saina went on to bag five consecutive points to draw level at 18-18 and then make it 20-18. She quickly wrapped it up 21-19 to take the match to the decider.
In the third game, Saina started positively, while Wang seemed to be completely out of colour initially.
Having opened up a 6-1 lead, Saina soon increased it to 10-5 and then went on to extend it to 15-10.
But just when it seemed that the Indian would run away with the match comfortably, Wang turned things upside down to totally flummox Saina.
The Chinese upped her ante to take the last 11 points on a trot to seal the issue in her favour and advance to the semifinals.--PTI