Three days after officially being crowned world no 1, Saina Nehwal came up short in the Malaysia Open semifinal against Li Xuerui. Apart from the heartbreaking loss, the Indian badminton ace lost the top spot on the rankings. Thereafter Nehwal also pulled out of the Singapore open citing fatigue.
Battling fatigue, Kidambi Srikanth and the others had a rather disappointing outing in the Malaysia Open. Also, we take quick look at the Indian performances in the recently concluded Finnish Open.
Saina Nehwal comes up short in Malaysia Open; Loses world no.1 ranking
Having begun the year brightly by winning the India Open and the top spot in the BWF Rankings, all eyes were on Saina Nehwal as she began her campaign at the Malaysia Open. The world no 1 at the time began well with a ruthless win over Indonesian Maria Febe Kusumastuti 21-13, 21-16 in the first round.
The second round saw an even more ruthless Saina Nehwal as she overcame world no 19 Yao Xue 21-13, 21-9. The quarterfinals however, was Saina’s first big test. Pitted against Sun Yu, the stakes could not be much higher. In spite of that, the gritty Indian badminton star overcame the Chinese in a match that lasted almost an hour 21-11, 18-21, 21-17.
However, a magnificent run by Saina was cut short by former world no.1 Li Xuerui. The match between the two badminton heavyweights lasted 68 minutes as the Chinese sneaked past Saina 13-21, 21-17, 22-20.
Saina: “I am just too tired to play in Singapore”
Saina Nehwal has pulled out of the upcoming Singapore Open. As many have guessed, fatigue has a major factor to play in the Indian shuttler’s withdrawal. Speaking to the media, Saina was quoted saying;
” I am just too tired to play in Singapore. Playing back-to-back tournaments have taken a lot out of me. So it is tough to play three tournaments at a stretch. I had some really tough matches. I will next play the Asian Badminton Championship in China (from April 21-26).”
Kidambi Srikanth will lead the charge of Indian Badminton players at the Singapore Open.
P Kashyap, Kidambi Srikanth and HS Prannoy ousted in second round
In contrast to the Saina Nehwal’s campaign, the Men’s draw concluded in disappointment for the Indian badminton players. P Kashyap came up short against Malaysia Open winner Chen Long as the top seed crushed the Indian 21-10, 21-6. HS Prannoy went down fighting to the legendary Lin Dan 21-15, 21-14. Disappointing as they were, the biggest shock in the second round was the ousting of Kidambi Srikanth.
The fourth seeded Srikanth began the tournament with a hard fought win over Rajiv Ouseph 21-10, 15-21, 24-22. However, fatigue crept in as the youngster was handed a defeat in the second round by Tian Houwei 21-14, 21-18.
Doubles disappoint at Malaysia Open
The Indian badminton, Men’s doubles pair Attri/Reddy were handed a first round defeat by the Indonesian pair Adistia/Gunawan 21-11,21-17.
The Indian women team Jwala/Ashwini on the other hand succumbed to a second round defeat to Polli/Maheswari 21-23, 21-8, 21-17.
Finnish Open Recap
Subhankar Dey and Saili Rane were the only two Indians to take part in the Finnish Open 2015. While Subhankar Dey crashed out of the tournament in round two to Etu Heino 18-21, 21-12, 21-13.
Saili Rane fared better than his Indian counterpart but eventually crashed out in the quarter finals at the hands of Mette Poulsen 21-17, 21-18.
Coming Up: Singapore Open
The absence of Saina Nehwal from the Indian badminton roster will mean that Kidambi Srikanth will lead the Indian contingent in the Singapore open. Many will hope that the likes of HS Prannoy, RMV Gurusai Dutt and P Kashyap will make an impact.