Denmark Open: Saina Nehwal, Gurusaidutt ousted
Odense: The Indian challenge came to an end at the $400,000 Denmark Open Super Series Premier here Friday after both Saina Nehwal and R.M.V. Gurusaidutt lost their respective quarterfinals.
Defending champion Saina lost a marathon women's singles contest 21-13, 18-21, 19-21 in a thrilling one hour and six minute-battle against Ji Hyun Sung of South Korea while R.M.V. Gurusaidutt lost 11-21, 19-21 in 46 minutes to the men's singles third seed Du Pengyu of China at the Odense Sports Park.
The sixth seeded Ji overcame the World No.4 Indian to bag her first win over the Hyderabadi in five meetings. Saina was clearly the better player in the opener, dominating the first game in every sector and winning more points than her opponent at the net as well as with smashes.
Having got a feel of the atmosphere, the South Korean slowly started settling down in the second set and matched Saina shot-for-shot. Leading 14-12, Ji then notched five straight points to almost seal the game. The Indian tried clawing back by negating three game points, but Ji pushed the match into the decider.
The third game was a close affair where the maximum difference of points was three. Towards the end of the game, down 13-16, the London Olympics bronze medallist pulled back three points to level the scoreline at 16-all.
Ji stroked away into the lead again and Saina clawed back. At 19-all it was anybody's game but Ji showed nerves to kitty the game and match.
Both players had equal number of smash winners to their name while Saina had 14 net points to Ji's 11. But it was the crucial junctures of the match, where the Korean clinched the points when it was most required. Later in the day, Gurusaidutt did not look in control from the start and lost the first game without any fight.
In the second game though, the Indian built up a big 12-7 lead but the World No.3 clawed back and won six straight points to go into the lead. Gurusaidutt tried fighting back and matched the Chinese but the latter showed his experience to win the contest on his first matchpoint.