Two-time defending champion Saina Nehwal crashed out of the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament on Sunday. She was shocked by a lower-ranked Shixian Wang of China in the women's singles semi-final.
The top seeded Indian ace fought hard before losing 11-21, 21-10, 9-21 to the fourth-seeded Chinese in a battle that lasted 50 minutes.
Saina had defeated Shixian last week in the quarter-finals of the All England Championships and still leads 4-2 in career meetings, but the Indian found it difficult to negotiate her opponent's game.
She was out of sorts in the first game as the world No 7 Chinese raced to an 8-0 lead. From there on, she only played the catch up game and eventually lost 11-21.
In the second game too, Saina was lagging 3-6 but the world No. 2 soon got her act together and clawed back. After a hard fight till 7-7, she surged ahead and then held on to bounce back.
After opening up a lead of 13-10, Saina notched eight straight points to take the game.
But again, in the decider, the Indian made wrong line judgments and unforced errors.
Shixian didn't allow the Hyderabadi any chance. Having opened up a 5-0 lead, the she kept increasing the gap and comfortably sealed the issue, needing just one match point to cap it off.
The Chinese will take on Thailand's fifth seed Ratchanok Intanon in the final.