Saina Nehwal bows out of Japan Open

Esther Moore
September 22, 2017

Sindhu won the silver medal after being defeated by Marin in the Rio Olympics final.

From a marginally inferior position of 16-18 in the opening stanza, the effervescent 5 ft 1 inch (1.51 metres) tall Okuhara picked up the requisite five points for the game in a reel, and then simply mounted a blitzkrieg to leave Sindhu panting and desolate, and unable to stay with the pocket-sized Japanese star in the rallies.

PV Sindhu and Nozomi Okuhara did not follow the script like their previous few matches against each other. Okuhara avenged her defeat to Sindhu in last week's Korean Open Super Series final.

London Games bronze medallist Saina too squandered a lead and went down 16-21, 13-21 to Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain, seeded fifth. For the first time in a match against Okuhara, Sindhu failed to make it to the double digits, surrendering the game 21-8. There was a brief spark from Nehwal at the start of the second game, but after 6-all, Marin simply streaked away, and was never headed off.

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HS Prannoy and Sameer Verma also advanced to the second round with wins over their respective opponents in men's singles.

Eighth-seeded Kidambi had it very easy against the tricky Hu Yun of Hong Kong, who is ranked 27th. The Indian started brilliantly but was taken by surprise in the second and third games.

HS Prannoy continued his good run at the Japan Open Super Series by defeating Chinese Hsu Jen Hao in two closely contested games 21-16 23-21 to enter the quarter-finals of the premier event. The Indonesia Open and Australian Open champion needed just 29 minutes to dismiss Yun with a one-sided score of 21-12, 21-11.

Prannoy, on the other hand, will face Chinese second seed Shi Yuqi in the quarters, who ousted Sameer Verma 10-21, 21-17, 21-15 in an hour and four minutes.

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