Ace Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth’s woeful run continued as they suffered first round exits from the season-opening Malaysia Open on Tuesday.
Two-time Commonwealth Games champion Saina, who endured a tough 2022, battling multiple injuries and a lack of form, went down 12-21 21-17 12-21 to Han Yue of China in the USD 1,250,000 Super 1000 tournament.
Having lost the first game, Saina, who has slipped to world number 30, fought back to force a decider in a women’s singles first round match.
Former world number one Srikanth’s surrender was tamer. The world championship silver medallist, who has also been struggling for form recently, was stunned by the unseeded Kenta Nishimoto of Japan 19-21 14-21 in 42 minutes.
Srikanth, ranked 13th, fought hard in the opening game, but Nishimoto managed to take the lead.
The two shuttlers were tied at 12-12 in the second game but the Japnese ran away with the contest from there.
It was also curtains for Akarshi Kashyap who was outplayed 10-21 8-21 by Wen Chi Hsu of Chinese Taipei in her women’s singles opener.
The men’s doubles pair of Krishna Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Panjala too crashed out with a 10-21, 18-21 loss against South Korea’s Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae
Later in the day, the women’s doubles pair of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand will take on Hong Kong’s Yeung Nga Ting and Yeung Pui Lam.