London Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal crashed out of the Orleans Masters badminton tournament with a straight-game first round loss to Turkey’s Neslihan Yigit, here on Wednesday. Mithun Manjunath, Priyanshu Rajawat, Aakarshi Kashyap and Tanya Hemanth progressed to the second round.
Returning to the court after missing a few tournaments, the celebrated Indian shuttler tamely went down 16-21, 14-21 to Turkish qualifier Yigit in 39 minutes. Saina, who missed the All England Championships and has dropped to 32 in the BWF Rankings, had her right knee heavily strapped.
Sameer Verma, on the other hand, squandered a game lead to lose 19-21, 21-19, 21-17 against Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen. In other first-round men’s singles matches, India’s Manjunath defeated higher-ranked Victor Svendsen of Denmark 24-22, 25-23 while Rajawat beat compatriot Kiran George 21-18, 21-13. Tasnim Mir went down fighting to Germany’s Yvonne Li 22-20 13-21 5-21.