China Open: Nehwal exits early while Kashyap eases into next round

Olympic bronze medallist Nehwal lost to China’s Cai Yan Yan in straight games.

By Jay Lokegaonkar ·

Eighth-seed Saina Nehwal of India succumbed to a 9-21, 12-21 defeat in her opening round match at the Fuzhou China Open to Cai Yan Yan of China on Wednesday. Her exit, along with PV Sindhu falling short in a three-game thriller on Tuesday means that both of India’s top-ranked badminton players in the women’s draw bowed out of the tournament.

In the men’s singles draw, Parupalli Kashyap beat Thailand’s Sitthikom Thammasin 21-14, 21-13 to move into the round of 16.

A short stay

Nehwal wasn’t off to an ideal start and found herself down 0-3 early in the contest, leaving her to play catch-up for the remainder of the first game. She remained within touching distance at 6-10, but a run of five unanswered points from Cai put her in the driver’s seat. The Chinese shuttler continued to keep Nehwal under the cosh, before winning the first game 21-9.

Saina Nehwal was beaten by Cai Yan Yan in the first round of China Open 2019

The Indian fared better in the opening exchanges of the second game as the scores were evenly poised at 3-3. However, Cai upped the ante and seized the advantage to take a 9-6 lead. 

The Chinese shuttler then embarked on a run of eight straight points to extend her lead to 11 and leave Nehwal with a mountain to climb. The Indian continued to push for a comeback and even managed a run of three successive points, but it was too little too late as Cai won the match in 24 minutes, confirming Nehwal’s exit from the tournament.

Kashyap marches on

Over in the men’s singles draw, Parupalli Kashyap had a comfortable outing, emerging victorious in two games against Thailand’s Thammasin. The Indian was in a spot early in the first game as he faced a 2-7 deficit but quickly scored five unanswered points to level the scores. The scores were evenly poised at 11-11 before Kashyap picked up the pace and won the game 21-14.

Parupalli Kashyap eased past Sitthikom Thammasin in the first round of the China Open

The second game was tightly contested between the pair and was all square at 8-8, but an 11-2 run by the Indian put him in control of the proceedings. He eventually won the game 21-13 and book his berth in the Round of 16.

Mixed fortunes

It was a bittersweet turn of events for Indians on Day 2 of the China Open. The mixed doubles duo Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N. Sikki Reddy were beaten 21-9, 21-15 by Chinese Taipei’s Wang Chi-Lin and Cheng Chi Ya. Sai Praneeth fought back from a game down and won 15-21, 21-12, 21-10 against Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto.

Later today, Sameer Verma will be in action against Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu, while Manu Attri and B. Sumeeth Reddy will take on Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Soh Wook Yik in their men’s doubles first-round match.