Shenzhen (China): World No.3 shuttler Saina Nehwal of India lost her second consecutive women’s singles Group B match in the $500,000 BWF World Super Series Finals against Thai Ratchanok Intanon in straight games here Thursday.
This loss virtually puts the London Olympics bronze medallist out of contention for the semifinals. She also lost her first group match against old rival Swiss Tine Baun Wednesday.
Ratchanok won the match with much ease, 21-13, 21-16 in 34 minutes at the China Resources Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre.
Seeded fourth, Saina did not look confident from the very start of the first game as the Thai took a 14-5 lead. The Indian fought back, winning seven consecutive points to reduce the lead to 14-12.
But at 15-13, Ratchanok took off with some fierce smashes to bag six points on the trot and most importantly the game.
Saina fought back well in the second game giving a good fight to the Thai. But a la the first game, at 16-all the Thai again took off winning the next five points to clinch the match.
Saina overall could not match the pace of the World No.9, who improved her head-to-head against the Indian to 2-4.
The Indian won a mere five points on smashes against Ratchanok’s 13. The Thai girl was supreme at the net too, winning 10 points to Saina’s two.
This was Saina’s first loss to the unseeded player since November 2011.
The Indian next plays old rival and World No.4 Juliane Schenk of Germany against whom Saina has won seven of the 10 times.
However, Saina’s qualification chances to the semifinals look bleak as she would need to win big against the German and rely on the outcome of the other group matches also.