India’s top-seeded Saina Nehwal suffered a shocking loss to unseeded Japanese Minatsu Mitani in the women’s singles final of the French Open Super Series badminton championship at the Stade Pierre De Coubertin here Sunday.
World No 3 Saina, a bronze medallist at the London Olympics, went down 19-21, 11-21 to 21-year-old World No 26 Mitani in the title clash that lasted 39 minutes.
The Indian, in the first game, went down in a close battle but ran out of steam in the second game.
In the second game, Saina was leading 9-8. But from there on Japanese dominated the proceedings and stole seven points to open up a 15-9 lead. It was a mountain to climb for the Indian and she ran out of ideas.
Saina, who won the Denmark Super Series Premier title last week, began the final well and opened up a narrow 6-3. Minatsu though slowly built got into rhythm and sneaked in at 16-16. The 22-year-old Hyderabadi then won two points to lead at 18-16 but the Japanese came back to clinch four straight points and take Game One.
In the second game, Saina was again up 5-2 Minatsu again crawled back into the game and led 11-10 at the break. Another four points in the bag, saw the Japanese comfortably placed at 15-10 even as the Indian this time faltered with her accuracy. Moments later, Minatsu was on match point at 20-11. The Japanese then took the next point and with it the title.