It turned out to be a disastrous day for Indian shuttlers at the Hong Kong Open as P V Sindhu, K Srikanth and Ajay Jayaram crashed out of the USD 350,000 Super Series event in the opening round here today.
In the absence of World No. 2 Saina Nehwal, the onus was on Sindhu and Srikanth to lead the Indian charge but the duo couldn’t cross the opening hurdle.
Up against top seed and world champion Carolina Marin, Sindhu capitulated 17—21 9—21 to the Spaniard in a women’s singles match that lasted round 35 minutes.
Srikanth, who had reached the semifinals of the event last year, suffered his fifth defeat to Tian Houwei of China after his gruelling fight ended with a narrow 16—21 21—15 22—24 loss to the World No. 10 Chinese in a men’s singles match that lasted one hour and 13 minutes.
Ajay Jayaram, who had reached the finals of Korea Open Super Series and won the Dutch Open Grand Prix twice, was no match for the top seed as he lost 17—21 12—21 to the two—time world champion and London Olympics bronze—medallist Chen Long in another men’s singles match.
In women’s doubles, 2010 Commonwealth Games champions Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa lost 12—21 15—21 to eighth—seeded Korean pair of Jung Kyung Eun and Shin Seung Chan in their tournament—opener.
Srikanth gave a tough fight to Tian as he drew parity twice at 7—7 and 10—10 in the opening game but the Chinese was always a step ahead of the Indian.
In the second game, Srikanth showed his prowess as he opened up a 4—1 lead and though Tien tried to fightback, he successfully kept his distance and lead all through to roar back into contest.
In the decider, Tian surged ahead 4—0 but Srikanth soon clawed back at 7—7 and in fact held a four—point lead at 14—10 at one stage but the Chinese caught up with him and after a gruelling fight, managed to surpass the Indian.
Sindhu had defeated All England champion, Carolina at the Denmark Open last month but today the Spaniard didn’t give any chance to the Indian as she opened up a 5—2 lead early on in the opening game and held fort despite Sindhu clawing back twice at 6—6 and 16—16.
In the second game, Carolina was more dominating as she broke off from 5—5 to zoom to a 11—5 lead at the break and continued her rampaging run after the interval to close the issue without much ado as Sindhu’s game crumbled.
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