Saina Nehwal suffers another first-round exit at China Open

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Saina Nehwal’s lackluster run of form continued as she crashed out in the opening round of the China Open at Fozhou on Wednesday to local favourite Cai Yan Yan in straight games. However, her husband Parupalli Kashyap moved through to the second round after a comfortable 43-minute win.

Ever since claiming the Indonesia Masters in January, Saina has been struggling with regards to her fitness. The 29-year-old made three consecutive first-round exits before managing to reach the quarterfinal at the BWF French Open last month. However, her tough phase continued on Wednesday as the Olympic bronze-medallist lost 9-21, 12-21 in a 24-minute women’s singles clash, making an early exit from the USD 700,000 tournament. The World No.9 joined current World Champion and World No.6 PV Sindhu, who had crashed out in the opening round the previous day. 

Over in men's singles, Kashyap — Saina's husband and personal coach — registered a relatively easy victory over Thailand's Sitthikom Thammasin. The Indian who outsmarted his Thai opponent 21-14 21-3 in 43 minutes will face seventh seed Victor Axelson of Denmark in the next round. B Sai Praneeth — the bronze medallist at the World Championships — also made it through to the second round beating Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto 15-21 21-12 21-10 in a 52-minute hard-fought contest. The World No. 11 will now take on fourth seed Anders Antonsen of Denmark.

Meanwhile, the mixed doubles pair of Pranav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy faltered in the first round, going down 14-21 14-21 to Wang Chi-Lin and Cheng Chi Ya of Chinese Taipei.

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