Saina Nehwal's hopes of a medal in the world badminton championship ended when she lost 21-15 25-27 12-21 to Mia Blichfeldt in the pre-quarterfinals. (Image credit: Twitter)
Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal crashed out of the BWF World Championships after suffering a three-game loss to Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark in the pre-quarterfinals in Basel. The eighth seeded Indian lost 21-15 25-27 12-21 against Blichfeldt, seeded 12th, in a marathon women's singles match that lasted an hour and 12 minutes on Thursday. Saina boasts of a silver (in 2015 Jakarta) and a bronze medal (2017 Glasgow) to her credit at the World Championships. Saina's compatriot and two-time silver medallist PV Sindhu, however, sailed into the quarterfinals with an easy 21-14 21-6 win over ninth seed Beiwan Zheng of the United States. Sindhu will now face second seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals.
Sindhu had lost to Nozomi Okuhara of Japan and Carolina Marin of Spain respectively in the summit clash of the last two editions of the World Championships in 2017 and 2018.
Asked if she is hoping to make it third time lucky, Sindhu replied: "Well, I have trained hard and I hope I can do well. I have to perform well but there is no pressure. I been working on my defence, physical fitness and also on-court skills. We do have all kinds of strokes but to improve we have to keep training. So I have to do it all the time to make myself perfect," Sindhu told PTI in interview. "It is important to know which strokes to play at the right time, sometimes you can get tired and you can go blank but as a player you need to know which strokes to play in tough situations," she said.
Japan's Akane Yamaguchi is the one player who has stopped Sindhu twice with an aggressive game plan in the last two tournaments of the year in Indonesia and Japan.