All England Championships: Shock Exit For Saina




Saina Nehwal

Saina Nehwal

Saina Nehwal let go of one of the best chances she had to win the coveted All England Badminton Championships after she suffered a shock defeat to the unseeded Japanese Eriko Hirose 11-21, 20-22 in the quarterfinals.

Also Read: Saina Nehwal: Shuttle Service

With Saina’s fall on Friday at the National Indoor Arena, the Indian challenge ended in the prestigious event.

With two top players – Tine Baun and Yihan Wang – pulling out of the tournament, the world number five Indian had a very favourable draw devoid of any Chinese players in her half but she failed to take advantage of this.

The World No. 5 shuttler had defeated Hirose, ranked 17th, in the Indonesian Super Series semi-final last June but the Japanese was unstoppable here as she raced to a comfortable 15-5 lead in the first game. The match was contested evenly to start with but Hirose, who later on Saturday became the first Japanese to reach the final of the event since 1979, took control by perceptively finding ways to break up the steady rallying of the Indian at 17-16, 18-17, and 19-18 in the second game when it seemed it might go to a third game. Saina came back in the second game but the Indian ultimately fell short as Hirose held her nerves to win the match.

The world No. 5, who turns 21 next week, failed to match up to her last year’s performance in this tournament, where she had reached the semifinals. With this loss, India’s campaign at the event has come to an end as all the other Indians have already crashed out.

Earlier, in the women’s doubles, Jwala Gutta and Ashiwni Ponnappa failed to go past the Danish pair of Line Damkjaer Kruse and Marie Roepke losing 17-21, 21-19, 21-18 in a hard-fought second round match that lasted 53 minutes.

In the mixed doubles, Indian duo of Gutta and V Diju went down to fifth seeded Chinese pair of Tao Jiaming and Qing Tian 11-21, 12-21.

In the men’s doubles, Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas were defeated by eighth seeded Indonesian pair of Mohammad Ahsan and Bona Septano 16-21, 16-21 in the second round whereas in the men’s singles, P Kashyap, Anand Pawar and Ajay Jayaram had already crashed out of the tournament in the first round.

Meanwhile, four-time winner Lin Dan of China ended the brave run of Marc Zwiebler to set up a repeat of the 2009 final he won against holder and world number one Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in the Men’s Singles. Lin beat the giant-killing German 21-9, 16-21, 21-11 in the first semifinal while Chong Wei beat China’s Chen Long 21-17, 21-13 in the other. “I think it’s the final everyone wanted,” Chong Wei said later, talking to reporters ahead of Sunday’s match.

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Nupoor Bansal

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Hey, I'm Nupoor Bansal, 20, currently pursuing Journalism from DU. I have always been immensely interested in both playing and watching sports. Like most other cricket fanatics Sachin Tendulkar is THE God for me. Badminton, Tennis and Football are the other sports that interest me.

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