Olympic and World Championship silver medallist shuttler P V Sindhu was sent packing from the opening round of the Denmark Open by China's Chen Yufei on Wednesday.
Sindhu failed to break the rhythm of world number 10 Chen to go down fighting 17-21 21-23 in a 43-minute women's singles match last night.
This is her second successive early exit from a top tournament. After clinching the Korea Open, she had lost in the second round of Japan Open last month.
Sindhu conceded a 0-3 lead to Chen early on but managed to erase the deficit when she drew parity at 9-9 and moved together till 17-17. It was at this moment when Chen stepped up and grabbed four crucial points to win the first game.
In the second game, Chen surged to a 7-3 lead but Sindhu clawed her way back with four straight points. But at the break, it was the Chinese who had a slender one-point lead.
After the interval, Chen extended the lead to 15-11. Sindhu managed to reduce it to 16-17. However, Sindhu struggled to retrieve some low shots and and when one of her net dribbles going awry, Chen had four match points.
Sindhu then saved four match points to make it 20-20 but eventually Chen closed out the match at 23-21 to avenge her World Championship loss to the Indian.
Meanwhile, the other top Indian woman shuttler Saina Nehwal knocked out Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain with a 22-20 21-18 win in a hard-fought first round battle, thereby avenging her Japan Open second round loss to the Spaniard.
World number 12 Saina dished out a controlled game, mixed with aggression and caution to outwit the Spaniard who is ranked eight places above the Indian.
"I was moving well and finally it is about movements and picking up shots. She is the best player in the world and she is playing extremely well but I was happy with the way I was retrieving my shots," said Saina after notching up her fifth win over Marin in nine meetings.
"I don't know how I played today, everything happened so fast. The court is little fast, it was not a rally kind of court. The smashes were going well but anything could have happened but I picked up those difficult shots," she added.
After an initial neck-and-neck battle, Saina managed to take a 11-9 lead at the break with the help of her better net play and disguised strokes. But left-handed Marin kept breathing down her neck and levelled the score 13-13.
Everytime Saina grabbed a point, Marin came back with her trademark strokes. The Spaniard took a crucial 19-18 lead with a net return.
Once again Saina's down-the-line smash came to her rescue as she drew parity and soon grabbed the game point. Marin came up with another precise net return to level par at 20-20.
However, Marin hit wide to hand over an opportunity to the Indian, who sealed the first game with another superb smash. After the change of sides, Marin started dictating terms moving to a 5-3 lead but a pumped up Saina soon came back to turn the tables at 7-6 when her opponent hit wide and managed to lead 11-8 at the break.
After the interval, Marin narrowed the gap to 10-11 but Saina did not allow the Spaniard to make a comeback as she jumped to a 16-11 lead. Marin made a last ditch effort to claw here way back by closing in at 18-20 but Saina soon shut the door without much ado.
Saina will play either Thailand's Nitchaon Jindapol or Russia's Evgeniya Kosetskaya in the next round. In the men's singles, Kidambi Srikanth and H S Prannoy made positive starts but B Sai Praneeth bowed out in the opening round after losing 10-21 15-21 to local hope Hans- Kristian Solberg Vittinghus in a lop-sided contest.
World number eight Srikanth overcame a spirited challenge from compatriot qualifier Subhankar Dey 21-17-21-15 to set up a clash with Korean Jeon Hyeok Jin, the 2016 Australian Open runners-up.
World number 15 Prannoy recovered from a 6-11 deficit in the second game to oust Denmark's Emil Holst 21-18 21-19 in a hard-fought match. It was his third win over the Danish shuttler.
The Indian is likely to play former world number one Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia. Among other Indians in fray, young doubles specialist Satwiksairaj Rankireddy suffered twin defeats in mixed and men's doubles competition to end his campaign here.