India's PV Sindhu has crashed out of Japan Open 2018 after losing second-round outing to lower-ranked Gao Fangjie of China in straight games on Thursday, September 13.
The third seed, who had won the silver medal at Asian Games 2018 last month, was seemingly tired as she let slip a four-point lead in the first game at 17-13 to end up losing it 21-18 at the Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, Tokyo.
Fangjie, the world number 13, was continuously slowing the game down, forcing Sindhu into making quite a lot of unforced errors.
The Indian shuttler though fought back well in the second game to take a 5-0 lead but allowed her teenage opponent to pick up eight straight points to go into the mid-game break with a three-point lead.
Sindhu showcased her frustration over not being able to dominate the rallies but fought back once again to save four match points. However, it wasn't enough as another enforced error handed the game and the match — 21-18, 21-19 — to Fangjie.
This was also Sindhu's second defeat to Fangjie, who had handed her a straight-game thrashing at China Open last year.
Sindhu has now not managed to get past the second round of Japan Open — a World Tour Super 750 tournament this season — five times on the trot. Last year, she was beaten by the then world champion Nozomi Okuhara.
As the on-air commentators pointed out, Sindhu seems to be mentally and physically fatigued due to the workload she has had to manage in the ongoing season. Defeats in the final of two of the biggest tournaments of the season — world championships and the Asian Games must have played its part as well.
Notably, she had survived a scare — 21-17, 7-12, 21-13 — against unseeded local shuttler Sayaka Takahashi in the first round.
Srikanth avenges Asian Games defeat, HS Prannoy crashes out
Meanwhile, Kidambi Srikanth continues his good run in Tokyo. He has reached the quarter-final of the ongoing tournament.
The world number eight, who had faced a disappointing early exit at Asian Games, avenged his defeat against Wong Wing Ki Vincent of Hong Kong with a 21-15, 21-14 win earlier today.
Srikanth will now face South Korea's Lee Dong Keun in the last-eight match tomorrow.
HS Prannoy, who had defeated Asian Games champion Jonathan Cristie on Tuesday, was beaten by in-form Indonesia shuttler Anthony Ginting 21-14, 21-17.