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Saina Nehwal crashed out of the New Zealand Open 2019 as she lost 16-21, 23-21, 4-21 to China’s Wang Zhiyi in the first round on Monday. Lakshya Sen was also knocked out in the opening round after losing 21-15, 18-21, 10-21 to Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei.

In a match that lasted 1 hour and 7 minutes, Nehwal trailed 0-4 in the first game and was unable to keep up with her less-fancied opponent losing 16-21. Wang, ranked 212 in the world, stretched Saina in the second game which the Indian won 23-21. There was no fightback in the decider as Wang won 8 consecutive points to win 21-4 in the third game to exit the tournament.

In the men’s singles, HS Prannoy and B Sai Praneeth advanced to the second round. Prannoy defeated Kean Yew Loh 21-15 21-14 in straight games while Praneeth edged Indian counterpart Subhankar Dey 21-17 19-21 21-15 in a close contest that lasted 71 minutes

Lakshya Sen’s campaign, though, ended with a hard-fought loss against Taiwan’s Wang Tzu Wei. Lakshya lost 21-15 18-21 10-21 in an hour and eight minutes.

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Tzu Wei won six consecutive points in the second game to win it 21-18 and force the decider. Sen was unable to mount a challenge in the third game and lost 10-21 to exit the tournament early.

In Women’s doubles Sikki Reddy and Ashwini Ponnappa lost 14-21, 23-21, 14-21 to Chinese pair Liu Xuanxuan and Xia Yuting in the first round. However, Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy progressed to the second round in men’s doubles with a dominant 21-7, 21-10 win over New Zealand’s Joshua Feng and Jack Jiang.

Anura Prabhudesai also lost to World No. 15 Li Xuerui 21-9, 21-10 in the first round in a disappointing day for Indian shuttlers.

With inputs from PTI

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