Incheon: Indian shuttlers wound up a rather disappointing singles campaign in the Asian Games after Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap bowed out with losses in the preliminary stage here today.
Saina, India's primary medal hope, made her exit at quarterfinal stage for the second time running after she was beaten in three games by her Chinese nemesis Wang Yihan, the world no. 2, at the Gyeyang Gymnasium.
Kashyap hardly put up a fight and lost in straight games in men's singles round of 16 to top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, while K Srikanth gave the shivers to Korean fifth seed Son Wanho before losing in three hard-fought games.
India's challenge in singles events, has thus ended as P V Sindhu had been eliminated yesterday itself at the round of 16 stage.
Saina raised visions of her second victory in 10 matches against the tricky Chinese player when she rallied magnificently from 11-15 to win the opening game 21-18.
But thereafter Wang came back with all guns blazing and Saina just could not handle the varied stroke-making of the Chinese, the second seed, who hammered her in the last two games 21-9, 21-7 to enter the women's semis.
Saina, who had shifted base from home town Hyderabad to Bangalore to train at the Prakash Padukone Academy under Vimal Kumar, was totally outplayed by her Chinese rival in the last two games in which she found no answer to Wang's superb attacking shots.
Wang looked to hold the edge when she led 15-11 in the opener before Saina levelled the scores and then pulled ahead to 17-16 with a winning down the line smash after a lengthy rally.
Saina then took control with Wang committing errors and then closed out the game when the Chinese player misjudged an attacking clear from the Indian ace to let it fall just inside the base-line.
But that was the last time the Indian held sway as Wang stepped up the tempo and moved Saina around the court to prise out errors repeatedly or hit winners after the two level-pegged till 4.
Wang pulled ahead to 11-6 at the changeover and then raced to win the game and drew parity in the match.
On song now, the Chinese reeled off points without much ado to take a commanding 9-0 lead in a jiffy in the decider before World no. 7 and sixth seed Saina realised what hit her.
Saina tried bravely to bridge the gap by trying something different but her marginal slowness in going for the drops of Wang did not help her one bit.
After taking a 11-1 lead, Wang raced to an 18-6 advantage and then surged to match point before essaying a brilliant cross court smash to end the Indian's challenge in an hour.
Later talking to reporters, Saina said that the lengthy first game took its toll on her energy.
"The first game was pretty long and I started really well. I got tired and she too was tired. I tried to relax a bit in the second game and that's where I lost my momentum," she said.
Saina said she would continue to train under Vimal Kumar at Bangalore post the Games.
"I have been training for just three weeks to improve my movement and would train there again," she said.
The challenge in men's singles too came to an end when Kashyap slipped to an embarrassing 21-12, 21-11 defeat against Wei, the Olympic Games silver medal winner.
His compatriot Srikanth put up a lot of resistance against his fifth seeded Korean rival and yet ended up on the losing side after leading 1-0 in the 67-minute match. He lost 21-19, 11-21, 18-21.