Paris: Top Indian shuttler Chetan Anand crashed out of the World Badminton Championships with a disappointing straight-game defeat against a lowly-ranked opponent in the men`s singles first round.
Chetan, the highest ranked Indian in the fray and seeded 14th in the prestigious event, lost 14-21, 18-21 to Singapore`s Ong Zhao Ashton Chen who is placed 107th in world rankings.
The world number 15 Indian, who recovered from a knee injury recently, failed to find any rhythm and lost the tie without much fight in 37 minutes.
With Chetan`s early exit from the tournament today, Indian challenge in men`s singles ended as Parupalli Kashyap had also crashed out in the first round last night.
Chetan trailed from the start but could narrow down the gap at 5-7 only to fall behind again.
Drop shots, net play and trying to pin Chen to the back courts didn`t work for Chetan as the Singaporean had all the answers. Time and again, Chen`s weapon the overhead smash from the back court worked to perfection.
Chetan changed shirt from an all-white to a yellow-red combination in the second game and it seemed it brought some luck as the Indian took the first point and then led 2-1.
Chen, however, came back to take a 6-3 lead with a couple of powerful mid court smashes.
Chetan fought back and for the first time in the tie he led 9-8 with some deft drop shots and net play which brought applause from the crowd.
The lead exchanged hands quite a few times before Chetan committed quite a few unforced errors to hand a 17-12 lead to his opponent.
Chetan did pull back to 14-18 but it was not his day today and Chen raced to 20-18 before shutting the door on the Indian with a drop shot.
The disappointment was all evident when after the tie, Chetan said, "It is a big blow as I had trained keeping the World Championships in focus."
"But today, nothing seemed to work and I just failed to come to grips with my game and also played into my opponents hands," he added.
Chetan said he at times played to the strength of his opponent by giving him chance to play his overhead smashes from the back court.
"I think that was a mistake. He played the overhead smash well and you also have to give him credit that he brought himself into positions where he forced me to play certain shots," said the Hyderabadi.
"I think I will take a break and will see how I go about planning for the next few months," he added.