Odense (Denmark): Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal’s struggles continued with a first-round loss against Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi in the Denmark Open.
The world number 8 Saina lost 15-21 21-23 in the women’s singles match that lasted 37 minutes to crash out of the USD 775,000 tournament. The 29-year-old London Olympics bronze medallist was the runner-up last year.
Saina has been going through a tough phase with fitness issues since claiming the Indonesia Masters in January. She had also made first-round exits at the China Open and Korea Open earlier this year.
World number 12 Takahashi had defeated Saina the last time they met at the Thailand Open in August.
Sameer Verma, however, crossed the first hurdle in the men’s singles when he beat Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan 21-11 21-11 in 29 minutes to advance to the second round.
The Indian mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy also made it to the second round with a 21-16 21-11 win over the German duo of Marvin Seidel and Linda Efler.
In another mixed doubles first round match, Satwiksairaj Ranki and Ashwini Ponnappa did not take the court and conceded a walk over to the second seeded Chinese pair of Wang Yi Lyu and Huang Dong Ping.