Birmingham, March 12 (IANS) India’s Saina Nehwal suffered a shock defeat against lower-ranked Japanese Eriko Hirose 11-21, 20-22 and bowed out of the All England Badminton Championships here.
With Saina’s fall Friday at the National Indoor Arena, the Indian challenge ended in the prestigious event.
The World No.5 shuttler had defeated Hirose, ranked 17th, in the Indonesian Super Series semi-final last June but the Japanese was unstoppable here and she raced to a comfortable 15-5 lead in the first game.
The second game saw neck-and-neck fight between the two but Hirose won the crucial points to seal a place in the semi-finals.
Saina reached the semi-finals last year and was expected to make it to the finals this time after the withdrawal of World No.2 Yihan Wang, who was in the same half of the draw.