Saina Nehwal's comeback into the international circuit, following her knee surgery, did not go according to plan as the shuttler lost in the first round of the China Open. However, other India shuttlers such as PV Sindhu and HS Prannoy reached the second round of the competition after their straight games victory on Wednesday.
The former world number one lost to Porntip Buranapras in a tight three-game affair. As soon as the draws were announced, this match up against the Thailand star was a tricky one, and Porntip proved it, with a brilliant and determined approach.
Saina lost the opening game of the match, despite some good shuttle display. The India shuttler, who has been playing in the international circuit for some years, brought in her experience to clinch the second game 21-19.
With the match tied at 1-1, it headed for a decider. But Porntip continued her impressive performance in the final game to stun Saina and reach the second round. The final scores read 21-16, 19-21, 21-14 in favour of the Thai star.
However, Sindhu, who might have been below par in the competitions that she has participated after winning silver in Rio, looked in good touch against Chia Hsin Lee. As usual, the India shuttler showed her offensive skills with some powerful smashes, and her game at the net was also impressive.
Sindhu emerged victorious 21-12, 21-16. But after the exit of Saina, onus will be on Sindhu to carry the India flag high in China Open.
Meanwhile, in the men's arena, HS Prannoy did not have much trouble in getting past his opponent NG Ka Long An. With some consistent shuttle play from the back as well as the front end of the court, Prannoy moved into the next round, defeating Long 21-13, 21-13.