Wednesday, June 23, 2021
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Saina loses in quarterfinals to nemesis Wang

Indian shuttlers wound up a rather disappointing singles campaign in the Asian Games after Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap bowed out with losses in the preliminary stage.

Saina, India’s primary medal hope, made her exit at quarterfinal stage for the second time running after she was beaten in three games by her Chinese nemesis Wang Yihan, the world no. 2, at the Gyeyang Gymnasium.

Kashyap hardly put up a fight and lost in straight games in men’s singles round of 16 to top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, while K Srikanth gave the shivers to Korean fifth seed Son Wanho before losing in three hard-fought games.

India’s challenge in singles events, has thus ended as P V Sindhu had been eliminated itself at the round of 16 stage.

Saina raised visions of her second victory in 10 matches against the tricky Chinese player when she rallied magnificently from 11-15 to win the opening game 21-18.

But thereafter Wang came back with all guns blazing and Saina just could not handle the varied stroke-making of the Chinese, the second seed, who hammered her in the last two games 21-9, 21-7 to enter the women’s semis.

Saina, who had shifted base from home town Hyderabad to Bangalore to train at the Prakash Padukone Academy under Vimal Kumar, was totally outplayed by her Chinese rival in the last two games in which she found no answer to Wang’s superb attacking shots.

Wang looked to hold the edge when she led 15-11 in the opener before Saina levelled the scores and then pulled ahead to 17-16 with a winning down the line smash after a lengthy rally.

Saina then took control with Wang committing errors and then closed out the game when the Chinese player misjudged an attacking clear from the Indian ace to let it fall just inside the base-line.

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