Saina Nehwal’s attempts to regain her form and revive her chances of qualifying for the Olympics suffered a grievous blow when she lost to Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the quarter-final stage of the ongoing BWF World Tour Barcelona Spain Masters Super 300 event.
But Saina’s loss wasn’t the only major disappointment for India on the day. Sameer Verma also got knocked out thanks to a loss against Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand. But there was a steak of silver for Indian fans amidst the dark clouds with Ajay Jayaram, who upset third seed Kidambi Srikanth earlier, winning his match against France’s Thomas Rouxel.
Saina had enjoyed a good run in the tournament until this match with easy victories in both her previous matches. However, those matches were against easier opponents. This match was the first time in the tournament that she was facing a worthy opponent. Unfortunately, she went down in straight games 22-20, 21-19 in 45 minutes. The score shows that she fought hard but that is not enough.
In men’s singles, Sameer Verma couldn’t put up much of a fight against the Thai shuttler Vitidsarn and, though, he did take the match into the third game, lost 17-21, 21-17, 21-12.
The only remaining Indian in the event – Jayaram – has been a revelation. Having performed better than much more fancied players like Kidambi and HS Prannoy, he would be looking to continue his purple patch. He needed just two games to put away France’s Rouxel 21-14, 21-15 in a bit over half-an-hour.
In the next round, Jayaram is going to take on the same man who ousted his countryman Verma – Vitidsarn. Going by the way he has played in this tournament, a spot in the final is rather likely for Jayaram.Published 22 Feb 2020, 06:06 IST