Japan Open: Okuhara ousts Sindhu; Saina falls to Marin

Olympics medallists P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal crashed out of the USD 325,000 Japan Open Super Series after suffering straight-game defeats in second round today.

Sindhu reacts after losing a point against Okuhara during their second round match at the Japan Open.   -  AFP

Olympics medallists P.V. Sindhu and Saina Nehwal crashed out of the USD 325,000 Japan Open Super Series after suffering straight-game defeats in second round here today.

Playing local favourite and world champion Nozomi Okuhara for the third consecutive time, Sindhu could not bring to the fore her best game and committed too many errors to go down 18-21 8-21 in a lop-sided 47-minute contest.

The match lacked the long intense rallies, which were the hallmark of their last two contests -- the 110-minute World Championship final and last week's 83-minute Korea Open summit clash, which Sindhu had won.

Rio Olympics silver medallist Sindhu squandered a lead of 11-9 and 18-16 in the opening game and looked completely out of sorts in the second game to bow out early.

London Games bronze medallist Saina too squandered a 14-10 lead in the opening game and a 6-4 advantage in the second to go down 16-21 13-21 to Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain, seeded fifth.

Sindhu led 6-2 early on in the first set but Okuhara closed the gap to 8-9, before Sindhu’s straight return bamboozled the Japanese. The Indian failed to negotiate a cross-court return from Okuhara, who miscued a stroke to the net to give a 11-9 advantage to the Indian at the break.

Okuhara quickly erased the deficit and grabbed a 12-11 lead after winning a long rally with a deceptive return. The Japanese continued to dominate as she unleashed a body smash and then won a video referral to move to 15-11.

Sindhu broke the run of play with a cleverly set-up point where she used a cross court flick followed by a push at the back court. She used a wristy flick at the net to narrow the margin to 14-15, and then clawed back when the local favourite hit long.

A whipping smash and then aided by Okuhara’s two returns going to the net saw Sindhu led 18-16, but Sindhu failed to make use of the advantage as Okuhara reeled off four straight points, the final stroke an on-rushing over-the-head smash to earn bragging rights.

Okuhara started the second set strong and opened up a 3-0 lead, which she extended to 9-3. Sindhu failed to reign in her errors, allowing Okuhara to move ahead.

Okuhara took a massive lead of over 10 points in the second game at 16-5 and gave Sindhu absolutely no chance of a comeback, to take the game 21-8 and make her way to the quarterfinals.

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