Beijing: Saina Nehwal Bows out of Olympics


Beijing, Aug 13: The Indian challenge in the Olympics badminton competition ended on Wednesday when Saina Nehwal bowed out of the women's singles following a quarter-final loss to Indonesian Maria Kristin Yulianti.

The 18-year-old Indian, playing in her first Olympics, was beaten 28-26, 14-21, 15-21 by the world No 21 after a thrilling contest.

In a nail-biting opening game, Saina frittered away a game point before getting her act together to go one game up.

However, unfazed by the initial setback Yulianti took the next game to draw abreast.

The decider looked like going Saina's way as she led 11-5, but nerves got the better of the world No 15 Indian.Yulianti won 15 of the next 16 points to race away with the game and match.

The other Indian entry, Anup Sridhar, had made an exit, losing in the round of 16 of the men's singles on Monday.

Dejected after allowing the match slip through her fingers, Saina was devastated.

"I made a lot of mistakes and erred in judging the shuttle. In the third game, I was dog tired," Saina lamented.

Asked what went wrong in the third game, she said, "I could not read the drift once I changed sides. On many occasions, I expected her shuttle to land outside and left it only to see it land inside. I just could not read that.

"That also explains why I knocked a few shots wide and long."

Asked if the eight-point lead in the decider made her complacent, Saina replied, "Not at all. In fact, I was not
thinking about winning at all. I was just playing my game. Even at match points you cannot take it for granted.

"The match changed course so fast in the third game that I lost confidence. Then I was quite tired too and all combined
to my defeat.

"I'm both happy and sad to have come this far and still lose a match despite dominating it. It was my match and I should have won it," she said.

Her opponent too felt Saina probably exhausted herself in the first two games and hence could not maintain the tempo.

"She was attacking all the time. So I had to be patient. Towards the end, it looked like she was rushing her shots," the Indonesian said.


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