Saina loses to Ratchanok in French Open quarters
Paris: Leading Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal suffered a stunning defeat in straight games against Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the women’s singles quarter-finals of the $275,000 French Open Superseries here on Friday.
Top seed and world No.2 Saina lost 9-21, 15-21 in 39 minutes against 2013 world champion Ratchanok at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin to bring an end to the Indian campaign at the tournament.
With this win, 20-year-old world No.7 Ratchanok improved her head-to-head record to 4-6 against the 25-year-old Olympic bronze medallist and 2015 World Championships silver medallist.
Saina was not at her best on Friday and Ratchanok pounced on every mistakes and weaknessess shown by the Indian.
The Thai held a 6-4 lead initially that swelled to 10-5 as she bagged four consecutive points. Ratchanok employed her trademark deceptive shots and Saina had no answer to them. She was not good at net-play and movement, too.
This allowed Ratchanok to snatch eight points on the trot to hold an 18-5 lead and later win 21-9.
She continued the momentum in the second game and dominated Saina from the outset. A 4-0 lead at the beginning meant Saina always trailed her. Ratchanok stamped her authority to race to an 11-5 lead at the break.
Saina played a bit better after the break. She collected 10 points – the same as Ratchanok – after the break.
But there was not stopping the three-time former world junior champion Ratchanok as she pocketed the second game 21-15 and entered the semi-final.