Double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu made yet another first round exit as she lost in straight games to Zhang Yi Man of China at the Japan Open in Tokyo on Wednesday.
Sindhu lost 12-21, 13-21 in the match that lasted 32 minutes as she plunged into her seventh first round exit in 13 BWF World Tour events this year.
The former world champion has been a shadow of her past self after her injury rehabilitation and has dropped to world No. 17 after a series of first round exits. She has been error-prone and struggling to finish points even against lower-ranked players.
Recently, Sindhu teamed up with high-profile new coach Muhammad Hafiz Hashim, the 2003 All-England champion, and is hoping to change her fortunes for the better.
Sindhu had beaten world number 18 Zhang in the Malaysian Open quarter-finals in May this year but the Chinese avenged that defeat and also made the lifetime win-loss record to 3-2 against the Indian.
While Sindhu has been struggling, the in-form doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty had no such issues as they beat the Indonesian pair of Leo Rolly Carnando and Daniel Marthin 21-16, 11-21, 21-13 to move into the second round.
Seeded third in the tournament, Satwik and Chirag, who won Korean Open title on Sunday, will face the Denmark duo of Jeppe Bay and Lasse Molhede in the second round.
Lakshya Sen also made a winning start to the BWF Super 750 tournament with a 21-15, 12-21, 24-22 win over compatriot Priyanshu Rajawat. He faces Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan in the second round.
But in another men's singles first round, Mithun Manjunath lost to Weng Hong Yang of China 21-13, 22-24, 18-21 in a hard-fought match that could have gone either way. The match lasted one hour and 25 minutes.