Birmingham: Star Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal made a first-round exit from the All England Championship on Wednesday after a straight-game defeat against World No 1 and defending champion Tai Tzu-Ying. Saina, who had reached the final in the 2015 edition, couldnt match up to the precision and athleticism of Tai Tzu, going down 14-21, 18-21. It was Sainas eighth straight loss to the Taiwanese in five years.
After failing to keep pace with Tai Tzu in the opening game, the 27-year-old Indian blew a 16-11 advantage in the second game. Saina, who had lost to Tai Tzu in the finals of the Indonesia Masters early this year, showed a lot of grit to keep herself in the rallies but the Taiwanese was simply phenomenal and displayed her mastery of strokes in the 38-minute clash to once again outwit the Indian. Saina did go level with the Taiwanese in the first game and the score was 10-10 and 14-14 at different points.
But after the breather, Tai Tzu showed her repertoire of shots even as Saina struggled with her control. The Taiwanese pulled away from there on to wrap up the game. In the second game, Saina showed better control as she opened up a 3-1 lead and soon made it 10-7 with Tai suffering a mid-game slump with unforced errors. Saina then unleashed a brutal smash to enter the break with a three-point advantage.
With the Taiwanese sending the shuttle to the net on four occasions on...