Macau Open: Saina Nehwal suffers shock defeat

Top seed Saina Nehwal suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Zhang Yiman of China in the quarterfinal of the Macau Open on Friday. She succumbed 17-21 17-21 to the lowly Zhang in a match that lasted 35 minutes.

Saina recently recovered from a serious knee injury.   -  pti

Top seed Saina Nehwal suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Zhang Yiman of China in the quarterfinal of the Macau Open on Friday.

She succumbed 17-21 17-21 to the lowly Zhang in a match that lasted 35 minutes.

Saina recently recovered from a serious knee injury.

Saina, who improved a place yesterday in the world rankings to be at number 10, seemed to have been affected by the gruelling three-game matches that she played in the last two rounds here.

19-year-old Zhang, who is ranked at World No. 226, took the early 4-2 lead and then held a slender 9-8 at one stage.

The young Chinese soon reeled off five straight points to jump to a 14-8 lead and kept marching ahead as Saina lost the opening game.

Saina, who had bounced back after losing the opening game in the last two matches, seemed to have changed gears as she zoomed to a 6-0 healthy lead in the second game. But Zhang came back to level the score 7-7 and surpassed her fancied rival, reaching 11-9 at the break.

Saina erased the deficit after the interval with two points but the Chinese managed to grab a 14-12 advantage and then jumped to 19-12 lead. The Indian picked up four points to narrow the gap but Zhang soon surged to seal the game and the match in her favour.

Later in the day Sai Praneeth toiled hard for half an hour before losing 19-21, 9-21 to Jun Peng Zhao.