Bangkok: Defending champion Saina Nehwal`s hopes of retaining her Thailand Grand Prix Gold title went up in smoke as she suffered a stunning three-game defeat to Singapore`s Juan Gu in the quarterfinals of the women`s singles competition here on Friday.
The world number two Indian lost 21-13 12-21 18-21 to eighth seed Juan in a 53-minute match at the Nimitbutr National Stadium here. This was Saina`s first defeat to the Singaporean in six encounters.
In the first game, Saina opened up a slender 4-2 lead but Juan continously put pressure on her and caught up with the Indian at 9-9. The 23-year-old from Hyderabad then registered two points to move into the breather with a two-point cushion.
Saina then slowly started widening the gap and accumulated points at will to pocket the first game.
World number 23 Juan came back strongly in the second round and turned the heat on Saina, moving into the break at 11-7. The China-born Singaporean didn`t give Saina much chance to fightback and roared into the contest at 21-12.
Saina begun the decider with a 5-2 lead but Juan turned the tables soon to hold the advantage at 11-10. Saina once again bounced back to lead 15-13 but the Singaporean showed immense character in wresting back the lead at 19-15 and then shut the door on the Indian.