The second day of Japan Open started on a bad note for India. World number 1 Saina Nehwal crashed out along with Kidambi Srikanth, who suffered a defeat at the hands of fellow Indian P Kashyap.
Saina crashed out of the Japan Open Superseries after suffering a straight set defeat against unseeded Japanese Minatsu Mitani in the second round of the tournament in Tokyo on Thursday. The Indian shuttler’s performance was below par since the local favourite took just 40 minutes to finish the match in straight sets 21-13, 21-16.
With Saina out, India’s run in the women’s singles arena has come to an early end as PV Sindhu too suffered a defeat against Mitani in the first round itself.
A million hopes were riding on both these players, especially Saina, who won a silver in the World Championships.
Earlier, the Commonwealth silver-medallist pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa produced a valiant show before going down 20-22, 21-18, 13-21 against eighth seeds Zhao Yunlei and Zhong Qianxin of China on Wednesday.
London Olympics quarterfinalist Parupalli Kashyap is now the only shuttler keeping India’s hopes alive in the tournament. In the men’s singles second round match, unseeded Kashyap prevailed over world number 4 Kidambi Srikanth 21-11, 21-19. The contest lasted for over 45 minutes.
Kashyap won the first game in just 17 minutes. The second game was a thriller and both the players were neck and neck till 5-5. It is then that Srikanth broke free and took a seven point lead (17-10). But Kashyap clawed back steadily and showed steely nerves as Srikanth failed to convert the big points leading to 19-15. Kashyap finally won the nail-biter (21-19) to clinch a quarterfinal clash with Chinese Taipei’s sixth-seeded Chou Tien Chen on Friday.
(With inputs from agencies)