Saina’s qualifying for Olympics took a hit after she lost to Akane Yamaguchi in the first round.
Rising Indian shuttler Lakshya Sen was knocked out of the All England Championships after losing in straight games to Victor Axelsen here on Thursday.
Lakshya went down to the world number seven Dane 17-21 18-21 in a hard fought second round battle which lasted 45 minutes.
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The 18-year old Indian, who won five titles last season, had defeated Hong Kong’s Cheuk Yiu Lee 17-21 21-8 21-17 in the opening round.
On Wednesday night, star Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal’s chances of qualifying for the Olympics took a hit after she made a first-round exit, following a loss to Japanese nemesis Akane Yamaguchi.
Up against world number three Yamaguchi, it was a tough opening round for Saina, who lost 11-21 8-21 in just 28 minutes.
Saina is placed 20th on the BWF rankings with 46267 points and the 2012 London Olympics bronze-medallist needs to enter the top-16 bracket by April 28 to make the cut for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
She now needs strong performances to pocket crucial ranking points but considering that several sporting events are being cancelled in view of the deadly novel coronavirus outbreak, it remains to be seen how many she actually gets to play.
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The 29-year-old is scheduled to compete at the Swiss Open (March 17-22), India Open (March 24-29) and Malaysia Open (March 31-April 5) in the following weeks.
It was Saina’s ninth defeat in 11 matches against the formidable Japanese and her third first-round exit this season.
In the men’s singles, Parupalli Kashyap retired from his first-round contest against Shesar Hiren Rhustavito while B Sai Praneeth lost his match on Wednesday.
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Kashyap’s match lasted just one minute. He was trailing 0-3 when he decided to call it quits.
The mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy advanced to the second round when top-seeded Chinese pair of Si Wei Zheng and Ya Qiong Huang retired while trailing 4-5.
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