Defending champion Saina Nehwal bows out of Australian Open

SYDNEY (TIP): Indian challenge ended at the Australian Open Super Series after ace shuttler Saina Nehwal suffered a straight-game defeat against China’s Shixian Wang in the women’s singles quarterfinals of the badminton tournament here on May 28.

World No.1 Saina failed to stick to her game plan and suffered a 15-21, 13-21 loss to two-time All England Champion and fifth seed Shixian in a 41-minute clash. It was Saina’s sixth defeat against the Chinese in 12 meetings.

In the opening game, Saina had grabbed a slender lead of 4-2 but Shixian soon wrested control of the match and went into the break at 11-8.

Slowly and steadily, Saina clawed back to 14-14 but a ruthless Shixian reeled off six straight points to grab a massive six game point at 20-14 and then pocketed the match without much ado.

In the second game, Shixian once again opened up a three-point lead at 6-3. The Indian tried to arrest the slide and went neck and neck from 6-6 to 10-10 but after that the Chinese moved ahead with giant steps to once again leave Saina behind.

Saina will next play in Indonesia Open Super Series Premier tournament starting on June 2.

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