Korea Open | India’s campaign comes to an end as Saina Nehwal loses to Nozomi Okuhara

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Korea Open | India’s campaign comes to an end as Saina Nehwal loses to Nozomi Okuhara

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SportsCafe Desk

09/28/2018

Saina Nehwal, the lone Indian to reach the quarters of the ongoing Korea Open, lost her match to Japanese star Nozomi Okuhara in three games of 21-15, 15-21, 20-22 in almost an hour. This is the third major event in row where India have failed to have a representative in the semi finals.

It has been a roller coaster ride this year for the Hyderabad based shuttler as after winning the gold medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games she failed to make it far in BWF events. However, she made up for it with a Bronze medal win at the recently concluded Asian Games in Indonesia. But again she failed to capitalize on the medal with average performances in the BWF events that followed.

The quarterfinal match started on an uneventful note with no major rallies with both the players going neck to neck. Saina went in to the mid-game break with a slender lead of 2 points. In the second half of the first game Saina kept her errors to a minimum and wrapped the game with five game points to spare.

As was expected, Okuhara came out flying in the second game but Saina did not let the game out of hand with Okuhara leading 11-9 at the mid-game break. After the break, though, Saina failed to keep up with the Japanese and Okuhara ended up being on the winning side this time with an identical scoreline of 21-15.

The third game was expected to be a close affair and it did not disappoint. Both players kept each other at arm’s length and it was Saina who went into the final break of the match leading 11-10. Saina came out flying after the break winning five consecutive points to make it 16-10 and took complete control of the match. She did not let up despite the lead and even though Okuhara took six of the next ten points, it was the Indian with four match points. However, just as the Japanese had done to the Indian fans in the World Championships last year, she fought back hard and with six consecutive points took the game and the match. 

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