Top notch Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal suffered a straight-game loss to Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi in the women’s singles quarterfinals to crash out of the USD 750,000 Denmark Open Super Series Premier.
Exhausted after being forced to play a late night match due to a power failure at the stadium, world number 12 Saina lost 10-21 13-21 to Yamaguchi, ranked fifth, inside 30 minutes.
“I did not get enough time to rest, have never played a match at 2 AM. It has never happened. Never slept at 3 AM. I was sluggish. My movement was not good. But I should say Yamaguchi also played really well. She has got a good game, she has been consistent,” Saina said after the match.
“Last time I had played her was at the Malaysia Open. She has obviously improved a lot in the last two years. She has been in top 5. I have to prepare more to play tough back-to-back matches. Anyways, I can’t do much about it. Next is French Open,” she added.
Saina, who had lost to Yamaguchi at the Malaysia Open in 2017, clearly looked tired and sluggish. Her movement was not up to the mark and she committed too many errors to allow Yamaguchi open up an 11-6 lead and could hardly do anything after the break as the Japanese walked away with the opening game.
In the second game, Saina tried to pump herself up and managed to move to 3-3 early on but Yamaguchi put the shuttle in positions which the Indian found difficult to retrieve as the Japanese led 7-4.
The rallies got faster but Saina did manage to turn the tables at 8-7 but Yamaguchi held the slender one-point advantage at the break when the Indian hit long.
Yamaguchi stayed a step ahead of the Indian, who seemed a tad late in her strokes. The Japanese continued to accumulate points with her better court coverage and stroke play and seal the match without much difficulty.