The Indian challenge in the World Badminton Championships ended after top medal contender and sixth-seed Saina Nehwal went down fighting 16-21, 19-21 to second-seed Lin Wang of China in women’s singles quarterfinals here.
Saina could not repeat her Indonesian Open success against the world No.2 at the Balayogi Indoor Stadium at Gachibowli.
She was India’s last medal hope in the tournament after the eighth-seeded mixed doubles pair of Valiyaveetil Diju and Jwala Gutta lost 16-21, 14-21 to defending champions and second-seeded Indonesian pair of Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir.
A huge crowd that turned out to support the city girl Saina witnessed a brilliant fightback from the 19-year-old but they were disappointed with her loss.
The Indian had defeated Lin to claim her first Super Series title in Indonesia, but on Thursday night it was the Chinese who called the shots.
Wang showed composure and remained calm despite the crowd using all its vocal power to cheer Saina.
But the scoreline was not the true reflection of Saina’s valiant efforts.
Saina started badly in the first game and was down 1-8 from where she picked herself and drew at 12—12. But Lin came back with some deceptive drop shots and net placings to pocket the first game comfortably.
Saina also displayed some brilliant net play and powerful smashes in the second game, opening up a huge lead of 10-2, but Lin fought back and pocketed seven points to win the game.
The Indian said she was outplayed by Lin.
“I played well but she was simply good today. She was defending very well and her net play was also good. I was not tired and feeling better, but she was well prepared,” Saina said.
“She was pushing and tapping at the nets and scoring points. I made some mistakes also. I am happy with my performance since in the last World Championships, I lost in the pre-quarters. This time I have gone a step ahead.”