Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal crashed out of 2019 Hong Kong Open following a straight games defeat China’s Cai Yan Yan in the opening round on Wednesday. Nehwal, who was also beaten in straight sets at the same stage by Cai during last month’s China Open, lost 13-21, 202-22 to be knocked out from the first round of Hong Kong Open. The opening round exit meant Saina has now been knocked out from the first round in five of the last six tournaments she has participated in. Sourabh Verma Qualifies for Main Draw of Hong Kong Open 2019 Badminton Tournament.
Much against expectations, it was World No 22, Cai, who started on top against the ninth-ranked Indian Saina. The Chinese made an aggressive start not allowing Saina a foot in the match and carried the momentum throughout the game. Saina initially was in the game when she made it 1-2 after losing the first two points but Cai proved too hot on the day. She needed a little more than 10 minutes to win the opening game 21-13.
After losing the first game, Saina started the second game on the front-foot but her Chinese opponent fought back to make it 4-4 and lead the set until 18-14 when Saina for the first time in the clash won five straight points to go one point ahead. But with the game placed in her favour at 20-19, she hit the net to allow Cai another footing and the Chinese sealed the game with the next three points. Cai won 22-20 and advanced to the second round in a little more than half-an-hour.
Cai Yan Yan had knocked out Nehwal in the first round of the China Open. Later in the day, BWF World Championships gold medalist PV Sindhu would be in action as she would face South Korea's Kim Ga Eun.