Seoul: Former world number one Saina Nehwal crashed out of the ongoing Korea Open after losing to Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara in the quarter-final clash of the women’s singles event here on Friday.
The 28-year-old suffered a 21-15, 15-21, 20-22 defeat at the hands of her Japanese opponent, ending India’s only challenge left in the tournament.
The Indian shuttler gave a tough fight to Okuhara, but the latter’s resilient performance proved too good for Nehwal in the end.
After making a winning start to the match by clinching the opening game, the Asian Games bronze medallist indicated towards avenging her last two defeats at the hands of Okuhara.
But as the match progressed to the second game, Nehwal started to struggle with the Japanese shuttler racing ahead with a six-point lead.
Afterwards, Okuhara played some long rallies to gain her momentum back. She, then, made an easy task of the Indian shuttler by beating her 21-15 in the second game.
The deciding game of the match started with some promising shots from Nehwal as she looked more sharp and accurate on the court.
Till the mid-game interval, Nehwal was in full control of the match, maintaining a steady lead of two points.
However, the momentum shifted suddenly as Okuhara played a couple of attacking shots to earn some quick points in the game.
Nehwal, who was once leading the game 16-11, was now trailing 17-20 to the Japanese shuttler.
The final few points saw some quality fight between the two players, but it was Okuhara’s commendable stamina and fighting spirit that helped her register a win in the match.
Nehwal was the only Indian left in the tournament after Sameer Verma and Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka had crashed out on Wednesday.