JOHOR BAHRU: Saina Nehwal’s dream of pocketing back-to-back titles went up in smoke as Chinese qualifier Xin Wang stunned the second-seed Indian i
n the quarter-final of the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament on Friday.
Saina cut a sorry figure as Wang took just 26 minutes to tame her fancied opponent 21-14, 21-10 in a lop-sided affair.
With Saina’s loss, India’s challenge ended in the tournament as the top seeded duo of V Diju and Jwala Gutta were also shown the exit door in the quarter-finals of the mixed doubles event by unseeded Indonesian pair of Hendra Aprida Gunawan and Vita Marissa 8-21, 21-14, 21-16.
Saina, who last week created history by winning the Indonesian Open Super Series, looked tired and exhausted. She was nowhere near her best and failed to match her less fancied opponent from the start in all departments of the game.
Wang’s dominance in the match could be gauged from the fact that she scored 23 clear winners as against Saina’s 13. The Chinese shuttler was also the better of the two at the net, winning 11 points while her opponent could only manage seven.
In the first game, both shuttlers went neck-and-neck till the first 15 points but from there on Saina, world ranked seventh, went into a shell as Wang pocketed six straight points to seize the initiative.
The second game started on a similar note with Wang racing on to a 6-0 lead but the Indian, although not in her usual best, somehow managed to pull up her socks and reduced the deficit to 8-7.
However, it was not to be Saina’s day as the Chinese seized on her tired-looking opponent’s weakness to eventually pocket the match and a place in the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, men’s doubles pair of Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas also exited from the tournament last night, losing their second round match against Malaysian pair of Teik Chai Gan and Bin Shen Tan 13-21, 23-21, 19-21.