Badminton

Saina Nehwal slumps to shock defeat against World No. 226 Zhang Yiman in Macau Open

The Indian top seed was eliminated after losing 12-21, 17-21 to Yiman at the quarter-final stage.

Saina Nehwal bowed out of the Macau Open after losing 12-21, 17-21 against Malaysia’s Zhang Yiman on Friday. It was a major upset for the Indian ace, who is ranked 216 spots above her opponent. Nehwal never got a sniff in the game even though she had a much better second game.

Nehwal got off to a slow start in the first game and found herself trailing by only a slender margin at 7-9. The 19-year-old Yiman, then got a string of points to open up a sizeable lead at 14-9 and never looked back, clinching the game by dropping only three points from there.

Nehwal, ranked 10th in the world, had registered comeback wins after going down by a set in each of her last two matches. She looked on course to match that feat after racing to a 5-0 lead. From there, though, Nehwal suffered a dramatic collapse, allowing Yiman to claw her way back into the contest.

A shocked Nehwal battled hard from 12-17 down and ran her opponent close. After getting to four match points, Yiman finally had the match in the bag to progress to the semi-final.

Later in the day, B Sai Praneeth also exited the tournament at the same stage, losing to Zhao Jun Peng 19-21, 9-21.

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