Sad news for Indian badminton fans as top-seed Saina Nehwal crashed out of Macau Open Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament on Thursday. She lost in straight games to unseeded Zhang Yiman of China 12-21 and 17-21 in the quarter-final that lasted 34 minutes. Unfortunately Saina imploded against her opponent who is ranked at a lowly No. 226 in the world ranking. The Chinese girl dominated the match as she raced ahead 11-8 halfway through the first game thereby piling on immense pressure on the former world No 1, taking away the next 10 points easily, conceding just 3.
However, Saina fought back to take a five-point lead at the beginning of the second game going 5-0 up but the determined 19-year-old Chinese fought her way back into the match to take the scores her way leading 11-9 halfway. From then on she opened up a 7 point lead as the scoreline read 19-12. Saina still put up some resistance lowering the gap to 16-19. But her comeback was short-lived as Zhang hold her nerves to take the game 21-17 ensuring that it was all over for Saina Nehwal at the quarter-final.
Coach U Vimal Kumar told The Hindustan Times, that recovering from injury, Saina needs some more time to get back into the groove. Post-recovery she has failed to get past the last 8-stage of a tournament. Before Macau, Saina did crash out in a similar fashion at the Hong Kong Open. She also incurred to a first-round loss in the China Open.
With Saina’s exit, B Sai Praneeth who takes on Zhao Jun Peng of China later in the day, is the only Indian left in the Macau Open.