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Saina out of Thailand Open; Srikanth in semis

Last updated on: June 07, 2013 19:00 IST

Defending champion Saina Nehwal's hopes of retaining her Thailand Grand Prix Gold title went up in smoke as she suffered a stunning three-game defeat to Singapore's Juan Gu in the quarter-finals of the women's singles in Bangkok on Friday.

The world No 2 Indian ace lost 21-13, 12-21, 18-21 to the eighth seeded Juan in 53 minutes, at the Nimitbutr National stadium.

This was Saina's first defeat to the Singaporean in six encounters.

However, promising youngster K Srikanth kept the Indian flag flying in the tournament, entering the semi-finals in the men's singles.

Juan GuThe 20-year-old overcame South Korea's Wan Ho Son 21-17, 21-18 to set up a clash against Thammasin Sitthikom of Thailand.

H S Prannoy, the other Indian left in the fray, however, failed to advance. He was sent packing by Indonesia's Wisnu Yuli Prasetyo 21-12, 21-19 in another men's quater-final.

In the first game, Saina opened up a slender 4-2 lead but Juan continously put pressure on her and caught up at 9-9. The 23-year-old from Hyderabad then registered two points to move into the breather with a two-point cushion.

Saina then slowly started widening the gap and accumulated points at will to pocket the first game.

World No 23 Juan came back strongly in the second game and turned the heat on Saina, moving into the break at 11-7.

The China-born Singaporean didn't give the Indian much chance to fight back and roared into the contest, winning the second game 21-12.

Saina began the decider promisingly, racing to a 5-2 lead, but Juan turned tables soon and held a slight advantage at 11-10.

Saina again bounced back to lead 15-13, but the Singapore lass showed immense character in wresting back the lead at 19-15 before shutting the door on the Indian.


Image: Juan Gu

Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

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