Saina, Praneeth crash out of Macau Open

Macau, Dec 2 (IANS) Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and B. Sai Praneeth lost their respective matches in straight sets to crash out of the $120,000 Macau Open Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament here on Friday.

Saina lost 21-12, 21-17 in just 35 minutes to Zhang Yiman of China in the quarter-finals of the women’s singles competition.

There was disappointing news for Indian fans in the men’s singles as well with Praneeth losing his quarter-final clash 19-21, 9-21 to Zhao Jun Peng of China in 30 minutes.

Saina was made to struggle by her opponent as Zhang dominated right from the start, taking an 8-5 lead early in the first game.

Saina managed to draw level at 8-8 but Zhang won five back-to-back points to bolster her advantage to 14-8 before closing out the game.

Saina dominated the early stages of the second game, putting the local favourite under pressure.

The Hyderabad shuttler raced to a 6-0 lead before Zhang won five consecutive points to close the gap.

It was a neck-and-neck affair till 11-11 before Zhang won three consecutive points.

Although Saina equalised at 14-14, the Chinese star produced a five-point burst to clinch what ultimately proved to be a decisive lead.

Later in the day, Praneeth started his challenge in the last eight stage in confident fashion, taking a 4-0 lead in the opening game.

Zhao soon fought back to level the scores and the duo fought neck and neck with the lead changing hands repeatedly till 18-18 when two back to back points handed the decisive advantage to the Chinese.

Praneeth managed to save one game point by reducing the deficit to 19-20, but could not prevent Zhao from winning the opening game.

The second game was a one-sided affair as Zhao opened up a 8-2 lead right at the start. He continued to enjoy the upper hand thereafter as Praneeth’s challenge fizzled away.