Star India shuttler Saina Nehwal was knocked out of the Yonex Thailand Open Super 1000 after losing the women’s singles second round to Busanan Ongbamrungphan here on Thursday.
In a battle of attrition, Saina managed to grab the opening game but ran out of steam in the end, losing 23-21 14-21 16-21 in a match that clocked 68 minutes.
In the men’s singles, former world No. 1 Kidambi Srikanth was forced to give a walkover to his 8th seeded Malaysian opponent Lee Zii Jia after pulling up his right calf muscle.
Busanan opened up a 3-0 lead early on but Saina slowly came back and took a narrow 6-5 lead. A cross court shot helped Busanan turn the tables again as she led 11-9 at the break.
The Thai shuttler maintained her two-point cushion till 15-13 but a precise stroke at the backline helped Saina to draw parity. The duo then moved neck and neck till 17-17 before Saina managed to eke out a two-point lead with a superb net shot.
Saina made her rival twist and turn across the court and then produced another precise shot at the backline to again take the lead. She pocketed the game when Busanan’s weak return found the net.
Earlier in the day, Indian men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty bowed out of the competition after suffering a 19-21 17-21 defeat against second seeded Indonesian combination of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan.
Saina and Busanan engaged in some long rallies but it was the Thai shuttler who had the last laugh as she dished out some delectable drops and also stood out with better placement of shots.
In the second game, Busanan again ran up a 5-3 lead with Saina committing few unforced errors. The Thai looked in control as she moved to 10-6 before going into the interval with a four-point lead.