Saina Nehwal crashes out of India Open Super Series

first_imgThe stunned silence at the Siri Fort Sports Complex said it all. For about five minutes after the match, people were rooted to their seats. For they had just witnessed the unthinkable.Top seed Saina Nehwal had crashed out after losing 17-21, 19-21 to Japan’s Ai Goto in mere 34 minutes and that too in the opening round of the India Open Super Series Badminton Championships on Wednesday.It was not the defeat but the manner of it which shocked her fans. Incidentally, this was the first time in five years that Saina failed to clear the opening round in any tournament.Right from the beginning of the match, it was clear that Saina was not able to move even half of what she is capable of. The ankle injury definitely is more serious than what the Indian think-tank made it out to be, for the Hyderabadi seemed hesitant to stretch fully for a shot.Speaking to media, a clearly crestfallen Saina did not have much of an explanation.”Even before I realised, the match was over. She (Goto) was simply too good for me today. Whatever, I did was just not enough to beat her,” said Saina.Saina denied that she had still not fully recovered from her injury. “Look, this defeat has got nothing to do with the ankle injury. It is just that I could not move the way I would have liked to,” she said.Right from the moment she stepped into court, it was clear that Saina was far from her best.advertisementHer normally reliable cross court smashes lacked the bite and her net play was well below par.On the other hand, Gato, who had lost to Saina in the straight games of the Thomas and Uber Cup last year, showed that she had improved a lot. Her smashes had the sting and some of her retrievals were too good. To top it all, it was her net play which stood her apart and she looked a lot better than her world rankings of 24.In both the games, she made Saina run all over the court, fully realizing that the Indian was not moving at her best. And instead of smashing, which she normally does, she was content to rally with Saina.There was more disappointment for the Indian players in the men’s singles category as Arvind Bhat, Anup Sridhar, Anand Pawar, Sai Praneeth, HS Prannoy all lost their matches.Meanwhile, third seeded Peter Gade of Denmark had to fight off four match points before overcoming Japanese Yamada 13-21, 22-20, 21-8.last_img read more