The Indian shuttler bowed out in the opening round of the 2020 Thailand Masters following a three-game loss to Denmark’s Line Kjærsfeldt.
Though the Indian ace pushed all the way, Kjærsfeldt looked in fine touch as she registered her first-ever win over Nehwal on the BWF circuit.
The 25-year-old Dane was quick to assert herself and raced to an 11-5 lead at the interval in the opening game. Though Saina Nehwal tried her best, the Indian couldn’t match her opponent’s pace as Kjærsfeldt won the opener 21-13.
Although the unseeded Dane held a 11-10 lead midway through the second game, Saina Nehwal soon shifted gears to sneak ahead and take the game 21-17 to push the match into the third game.
However, the London 2012 bronze medallist could not build on that momentum in the decider.
And though the Indian started well to stay within touching distance of her opponent in the initial exchanges, post the mid-game interval, six unanswered points saw Nehwal drop off and concede the game 15-21.
Earlier, HS Prannoy too was on the receiving end of some fine stroke-making from Malaysian Liew Daren as he lost his opening round match 17-21, 22-20, 19-21.
In a match that lasted over an hour, Daren was made to toil hard before recording his maiden win over the Indian opponent.
The Malaysian will next take on second seed, Shi Yu Qi of China, with a place in the quarter-finals up for grabs on Thursday.