Ace Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth’s woeful run continued as they suffered first round exits from the season-opening Malaysia Open in Kuala Lumpur on January 10, 2023.
Two-time Commonwealth Games champion Saina, who endured a tough 2022, battling multiple injuries and a lack of form, went down 12-21 21-17 12-21 to Han Yue of China in the $1,250,000 Super 1000 tournament.
Having lost the first game, Saina, who has slipped to world number 30, fought back to force a decider in a women’s singles first round match.
However, the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist fell behind as Han built a sizable lead to take the fixture comfortably.
Former world number one Srikanth’s surrender was tamer. The world championship silver medallist, who has also been struggling for form recently, was stunned by the unseeded Kenta Nishimoto of Japan 19-21 14-21 in 42minutes.
Srikanth, ranked 13th, fought hard in the opening game, but Nishimoto managed to take the lead.
The two shuttlers were tied at 12-12 in the second game but the Japnese ran away with the contest from there.
It was also curtains for Akarshi Kashyap who was outplayed 10-21 8-21 by Wen Chi Hsu of Chinese Taipei in her women’s singles opener.
Later in the day, the women’s doubles pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand will take on Hong Kong’s Yeung Nga Ting and Yeung Pui Lam, and, Krishna Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Panjala will open their campaign against South Korea’s Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae in the men’s doubles first round.