Shanghai: World Championship silver medalist PV Sindhu remained India’s only contender in the $700,000 China Open Super Series Premier, as the recently crowned National Champions Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy joined the exodus of the other Indian shuttlers crushing out of the second round on Thursday. Sindhu defeated Chinese teenager Han Yue 21-15,21-13 to progress to the quarter-finals but both Saina and Prannoy suffered straight sets defeats at the hands of their respective opponents.
While Saina lost 18-21, 11-21 against the fifth seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, Prannoy suffered a shock exit, after losing 19-21, 17-21 against the 50th ranked Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong.
Facing the 104th ranked Chinese, Sindhu was dominant right from the start racing to a 6-3 lead. But 17-year-old bounced back in the initial stages to make it 8-8. But then, just when it appeared that a close contest on the cards, the experienced Indian took some vital points dropping just seven to clinch the first set 21-15.
Sindhu was more focused yet dominant in the second set. She was already six points ahead when Han Yue had not even opened her account and moved to 11-3 at the break. Although the Chinese fought back to make it 12-9 at one point, the lead in the end was huge as Sindhu clinched the match in straight games.
World no. 11 Saina Nehwal, however suffered her fourth straight loss against Japanese Yamaguchi despite starting strong in the opening set. The Indian led 11-9 at one point, but the fifth seeded Yamaguchi bounced back to make it 12-12. It was a close battle standing at 17-17, but the Japanese held on from there as Saina faltered to lose the first set 18-21.
The World Championship bronze medalist however did not stand a chance in the second game as Yamaguchi capitalised on the crunch moments to take a big lead of 11-8 and there was no slipping from there as Saina accumulated only three and Yamaguchi the match in straight sets.
HS Prannoy did put up a strong fight, but suffered a shock defeat to Hong kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu. He was trailing at 7-10, but fought back to make it 19-19 at one point. Lee, hover held on to his nerves to take the next two points and the first set. The second game was a similar battle and looked poised at 16-16, before Lee clinched the next five, to win the match and progress to the quarter-finals.