Rio de Janeiro: The London Olympics bronze medallist and world No. 5 Saina Nehwal’s Rio Olympics journey has come to a shocking end on Sunday, with the Indian shuttler losing to Ukraine’s Marija Ulitina in straight games.
Nehwal had inflammation on her right knee and lost 18-21, 19-21 to World No. 61 Maria Ulitina of Ukraine in her second Group G match that lasted 39 minutes at the pavillion 4 Riocentre.
“I had a knee pain and could not give my best. It was heavily strapped, and I tried my best. My movements were not smooth and were painful. It’s heartbreaking loss. I also feel very bad about it,” said Nehwal.
The injury according to her happened during training before the Olympics and it got worse during the match.
“It happened just before the Olympics about one and half weeks back. It happened during training and got aggravated after coming here,” she said.
Saina agreed that she was not able to move well but credited her opponent for playing well.
“She played better but I was not able to move on the court. I tried for improvement but was not successful.”
In Group M of women’s singles, another Indian women’s singles shuttler P.V Sindhu, however, managed to eke out a 19-21 21-15 21-17 win over Glasgow Commonwealth Games champion Li Michelle in a gruelling 72-minute match.
In men’s singles, Srikanth, a former World No 3, defeated Sweden’s Henri Hurskainen 21-6 21-18 in the second match of group H that lasted 34 minutes to enter the knockout stage.