India's hopes of having another All-England champion were dashed yesterday after both Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu bowed out in the quarter-finals of the premier competition in Birmingham. Sindhu lost to World No 1 Tai Tzu-Ying while Sung Ji-Hyun eliminated Nehwal in a closely fought match.
Tai got off to a good start by taking a 3-1 lead, but Sindhu recovered quickly and raced to a 9-5 lead of her own. Tai fought back to level at 10-10 before going into the break with a one-point lead. After the interval, both players traded points but once the World No 1 took the lead at 13-12, she never looked back and closed out the opening game 21-14.
The second game proved to be a one-sided affair as errors starting creeping into Sindhu's game after she had gone into the break trailing 11-5. Tai came up with some incredible returns and was forcing Sindhu to play at the net. The Taiwanese won 21-10 to seal the match and advance to the semi-finals.
Nehwal was up against World No 3 Sung Ji-Hyun and the clash lived up to its top billing as both players refused to concede any ground as the scoreboard read 7-7. Hyun, however, took the next four points to head into the break with a lead.
Nehwal came out after the break with a renewed sense of intent and took the next four points to level the score. Hyun yet again raced to a five point lead but found herself level at 17-17 with Nehwal not ready to give up yet. The game was following a trend as the South Korean brought up three game points for herself but Nehwal brought the scores level over the next three points. But it wasn't to be as Hyun closed out the first game 22-20.
The second game was pretty much the same with the lead never going over three points as the players kept the pressure on throughout. Yet, again Nehwal found herself staring down the barrel at 20-17 but as she had done in the first game, she fought back to level at 20-20. It was then Hyun's turn to return the favour as she replayed her last two points from the first game to progress into the semi-final with a score of 22-20.
"I think I could have turned it around in both of the games. I made small errors in the last two points, but she played very well, especially on those points," Nehwal was quoted as saying by ESPN.
Hyun, too, was full of praise of the Indian, stating that she had come to the game with a plan of not allowing Nehwal to play here naturally aggressive game.
"Saina is a very aggressive player, so I did my best to not smash, so I had to play