New Delhi: India`s ace shuttler Saina Nehwal battled her heart out before going down to Xuerui Li of China in straight-games to crash out of the French Open Super Series at Paris on Thursday.
It was a disastrous day for India at Paris as Ajay Jayaram and Commonwealth Games gold medallist pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa too suffered defeats to draw curtains on the country`s campaign at the event.
Fourth seed Saina lost 18-21, 29-30 to Li in a 48-minutegruelling women`s single match to crash out of the second round for the second time in the last two weeks.
Jayaram, who reached the second round of the men`s singles competition after beating fellow Indian RMV Gurusaidutt last night, suffered a 19-21, 14-21 loss to sixth seed Chinese Jin Chen in a 46-minute hard-fought match.
Jwala and Ashwini too couldn`t get past the sixth seeded Korean combo of Jung Eun Ha and Min Jung Kim and lost 13-21, 12-21 in a match that lasted for 27 minutes.
After a second round exit from Denmark Open last week, Saina was hoping for a redemption this week, but even her best effort couldn`t save the Indian as Li was better prepared and matched her shots with equal finesse.
Right from the first point, it was anybody`s game as both Saina and Li fought brutally for each point and went neck and neck till 18-18 before the Chinese registered three straight points to take the bragging rights.
In the second game, Saina lagged behind as Li opened a 9-4 lead but the Indian caught up at 10-10 and even went on to lead 18-13.
But Li reeled off five straight points to draw parity and then engaged in a see-saw battle with saina as they moved from 18-18 to 29-29 in a high intensity game.
However, it was the Chinese who had the last laugh as she closed out the match at 30-29.