Saina Nehwal faltered for the fifth consecutive time in the women's singles quarter-finals of the World Badminton Championships when she was ousted in straight games by top seed and reigning Olympic champion China's Li Xuerui on Friday
Copenhagen: India's star shuttler Saina Nehwal crashed out of the World Badminton Championships after suffering a straight game defeat at the hands of top seed Li Xuerui of China, here today.
The seventh-seeded Saina was no match for World No.1 Xuerui, who took just 45 minutes to sent packing the Indian with identical 15-21 15-21 scoreline.
With this victory at the Ballerup Super Arena, the Chinese had extended her head-to-head win-loss record against Saina to 8-2.
Saina Nehwal reacts after losing a point to top seed Li Xuerui during their quarter-final match at the World Badminton Championships at Ballerup Arena, Denmark, on Friday.
Olympic bronze medallist Saina, who had to fought her way back from a game down to register a 14-21 21-18 21-12 win over Sayaka Takahashi of Japan in the previous round, looked rusty from the start and was trailing Xuerui in the entire first game.
Xuerui took advantage of Saina's erratic play and raced to a 9-4 lead before the Indian brought the gap down to 10-8. But just when it seemed Saina was slowly getting her acts together, the Chinese regrouped herself and increased her lead to 18-11 before closing down the first game.
The second game was more competitive as it was neck-and-neck fight between Saina and Xuerui till the first five points before the Indian pocketed four consecutive points to lead 9-5. Saina maintained her four point lead till 12-8 before Chinese shuttler earned four straight points to draw level at 12-all.
Fatigue seemed to have caught up Saina thereafter as she struggled to match her opponent, who rose from strength to strength. From 13 apiece, Xuerui again won four consecutive points to take the lead for the first time in the game and then sealed the match in her favour with another straight points.
Xuerui will play 16th seed Minatsu Mitani of Japan in the semifinals. Mitani stunned fifth seede Ji Hyun Sung of Korea 9-21 21-18 22-20 in hard-fought contest.
Another Indian in fray, 11th seed P V Sindhu will play second seed Shixian Wang of China in another quarterfinal late today.