Indian ace shuttlers Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy suffered shock defeats in the second round of their respective China Open Superseries Premier clashes in Shanghai on Thursday. After cruising into the second round of the tournament with convincing wins in the opener the Indian duo had to embrace a tough day on the court. Prannoy, came into the game after a well fought victory against Korea’s Lee Dong Yeun but he couldn’t match up with the skills of Cheuk Yiu Lee in the second round as he was floored 21-19, 21-17 in straight sets by the Chinese. Meanwhile, Saina Nehwal who got better of USA’s Beiwen Zhang in straight sets in the first round was at the receiving end as he went down against Japanese Akane Yamaguchi 21-18, 21-11 in successive sets.
With the exits, World number 2 PV Sindhu is the only Indian challenger remaining in the competition. Prannoy was close to clinching the first game losing it by only two points but in the second game Yiu Lee showered stern smashes and upped his game to secure a passage in the third round. On the other court, Saina Nehwal fought well only to lose the first game by a margin of 3 points and was completely dominated in the second set by Yamaguchi as she crashed out of the tournament. Saina has now lost all 4 contests against the Japanese this year.
Saina Nehwal battled 37 minutes against Yamaguchi winning 29 out of the 71 points played. Though, Nehwal won 29 rallies out of the played 42 she couldn’t do enough to save the game. World number 11 Prannoy won 19 out of the 40 points played in the encounter which lasted for 42 minutes. Rio Olympics silver medallist PV Sindhu will now look to keep the Indian challenge alive in the tournament when she faces China’s, Han Yue.
Both Saina and HS Prannoy had recently won the Senior National Championships in their respective categories defeating Sindhu and Srikanth respectively. Sindhu is expected to have a comfortable outing against the world number five, but it will be a tough match with the pressure of defending India’s contention at the China Open Superseries 2017.