Nehwal went down 20-22, 11-21 against World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying
There are only a few things that scare the ace badminton player of India, Saina Nehwal. Out of those, one for Hyderabad girl would surely now be the prospect of facing the World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying. After all, she has been beaten by her arch rival at 10 other occasions (this includes the recently concluded Denmark Open final). And this French Open was no different, as the Taiwanese champion again triumphed.
Apart from this, there were more disappointments stored in for India, as other medal prospects – Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu – too made a retreat back home after losing their respective quarter-final matches.
The Revenge that never came
The stage was all set. It was a perfect opportunity for Saina to take a sweet revenge of the Denmark Open Final defeat. She tried her best, and her efforts were evident with each shot she played. However, the same old story repeated as Tai was too good to be beaten.
Saina started the first game strongly, leading Tai by 5-2. The Indian player looked confident, as she forked out errors from her Asian counterpart. Soon, both entered into the break, with Saina having a healthy 5 point lead of 11-6.
She sustained her dominance post-break, and lead Tai by 16-9 at one point. Saina had to just kill the game before Tai could do anything. However, the resilient Taiwanese did make a solid comeback, clinching 5 straight points. Naturally, for Saina, nervousness crept in. After being on 16-20, she conceded 6 straight points to lose the match by 20-22.
The second game was even unfair for Saina, who seemed to be a bit shaken by the close defeat in the first game. In fact, she became submissive, with Tai leading the game with a 7-2 lead. She tried on multiple occasions to make a comeback, but her fiery rival sustained her 5 point lead in mid-break as the score read 6-11.
The game belonged to Tai post-break. She played some delightful shots and never let loose even a small opportunity for her opponent to make a comeback. Tai easily closed the game by a convincing lead of 11-21.
Chinese Taipei’s head to head against India in badminton record now stands at an astounding 14-5.
Kidambi, PV Sindhu crashes out too
Srikanth Kidambi also failed to retain his French Open title as he was unsuccessful in overcoming another No. 1, Kento Momota in the men’s singles quarter-finals match. That again was a close contest, as K Srikanth went down 16-21, 19-21 against the Japanese shuttler.
Since the Asian Games final defeat, PV Sindhu has started seeming like a different player. She had an underwhelming European tour, and the French Open was no different. The Olympian lost out to China’s He Bingjiao by 16-21, 19-21.
This will be a huge let down for the country, especially after BWF rankings were declared yesterday with Sindhu being ranked No.2 and Saina rising to a 9th position, whereas K Srikanth was placed at No. 6.