Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal settled for a runner-up after going down fighting against World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying in the final of the Denmark Open in Odense on Sunday.
Saina lost 13-21, 21-13, 6-21 in a 52-minute riveting contest against the top-ranked Chinese Taipei rival. The title was Tzu Ying’s first title in two years. She had last won here in 2016.
The defeat was also Saina’s 13th loss against Tzu Ying and fifth straight defeat after finishing as second best at the Indonesia Masters, All England Championships, Asian Badminton Championships and at the most recently concluded Jakarta Asian Games.
Tzu Ying began well and took a 6-1 lead even as Saina found it difficult to establish her footing in the match. The Chinese Taipei shuttler was at her clinical best and engaged in long rallied tiring Saina out.
She continued her dominance and kept her five-point advantage at 11-6 to eventually win the opening set in 15 minutes.
Bur world number 10, Saina came out all guns blazing in the second game and bounced back with a completely dominant performance. She was fierce in her attacks and gave Tzu Ying no chance. She was at her devastating best and increased her lead from 11-5 to win it 21-13 to draw level and take the match to a decider.
She, however, failed to hold on to her momentum in the third set, making several unforced errors and finding the net on several occasions to eventually go down 6-21 in the deciding game. Tzu Ying led 9-2 at one point making it almost impossible for Saina to stage any fightback.