Top seed Nehwal ousted in first round

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Top seed and home hope Saina Nehwal crashed out in the first round of the Indian Open Super Series on Wednesday with a shock 21-17, 21-19 defeat to Japan’s Ai Goto. Nehwal, the world number four, looked distinctly off-colour against her less celebrated but determined opponent and slumped to her knees after Goto slammed in the winning shot at the Siri Fort Complex. “I am very disappointed at the loss,” said Nehwal. “I was confused what strokes I should play. She was moving very fast and playing a lot of drops and half-smashes.” “I was 19-16 up in the second game but made too many errors after that.
She has improved a lot since the last time I played her,” the Indian superstar, 21, said. Nehwal had beaten the Japanese player in three previous encounters and was widely tipped to win before a home crowd at the venue where she clinched Commonwealth Games gold last year. Goto, the world number 24, next takes on compatriot and fifth seed Eriko Hirose, who beat Adrianti Firdasari of Indonesia 18-21, 21-8, 21-16.
“I was focused on beating Saina,” said Goto. “I knew she would be under pressure playing in her home country and I tried to work it to my advantage.” In the men’s singles, world number one Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia survived a scare before beating India’s Ajay Jayaram 21-19, 21-18 in 37 minutes to book a second round tie with Korea’s Lee Hyun-Il. Indian qualifier Sourabh Verma earlier saw off former Asian champion Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia with a 21-18, 21-19 upset win.