Indian badminton star Saina Nehwal made a shock exit from the Singapore Super Series after losing her women's singles quarter-final to Indonesia's Lindaweni Fanetri, here today.
The quarterfinal defeat and her recent inability to defend her title in Indonesia saw the world number two slide two places to fourth in the latest rankings.
The Indian squandered a one-game lead to go down 21-17 13-21 13-21 in little less than hour against unseeded Fanetri at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
The World No.13 avenged her first round loss last week at the Indonesia Open by beating the Hyderabadi in their second career meeting.
It was a neck-and-neck battle till the first 10 points of the opening game before Saina took a three-point lead at 14-11.
The Indian increased her lead to 17-13 before Fanetri clawed her way back to reduce the margin to just one point at 18-17. But Saina regained her composure and pocketed three straight points to close the game in her favour.
The Indonesian, however, started the second game on a bright note and opened up a 7-4 lead over Saina.
Riding on her smashes and delicate net play, Fanetri increased her lead to 19-10 before sealing the game in her favour to level the scores.
The win in the second game gave immense confidence to Fanetri of registering an upset victory over her higher-ranked opponent as she carried on her good form to open up a 12-3 lead over Saina with clear winners.
The Indonesian did not give any chance to Saina to make a comeback as she increased her lead to 19-9 before giving the knockout punch to the second seeded Indian.
The Indonesian is now the only non-Chinese in the last four of the Super Series tournament and will face the winner of the match between seventh seed Shixian Wang and fourth seed Yihan Wang Saturday.
All other Indians in the fray have already bowed out of the competition after losing their respective second round matches.
While Saina’s prolonged lean patch has taken a toll on her ranking, rising star P.V. Sindhu, who pulled out of the Singapore Open due to an injury, also dropped a place to 12th.
In the men's singles, Parupalli Kashyap also lost a spot to be 11th while R.M.V. Gurusaidutt and Ajay Jayaram maintained their 23rd and 25th places respectively.
Sourabh Verma gained five places to 37 while Mumbai boy Anand Pawar retained 38th.
Thailand Open winner K Srikkanth improved his ranking by two places as he is 42 now.
B Sai Praneeth, who beat legendary Indonesian Taufik Hidayat in his swansong tournament was closely chasing Srikkanth as he is just three placed behind his compatriot after zooming up 16 places.
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