Saina Nehwal exits Orleans Masters after semi-finals loss

The Indian badminton player went down in straight games to her Danish opponent Line Christophersen.

By Utathya Nag

India’s Saina Nehwal crashed out of the Orleans Masters 2021 badminton tournament in France after a 21-17, 21-17 loss to Danish shuttler Line Christophersen in the women’s singles semi-finals on Saturday

Saina Nehwal was looking to reach her first final since the 2019 Indonesia Masters but faltered in her last hurdle.

Line Christophersen came out swinging and kept Saina Nehwal on the backfoot in the early exchanges to take a two-point advantage into the break of the first game.

Saina Nehwal upped her game after the restart but the Dane matched the Indian shuttler play-for-play before breaking away towards the end to win the first game 21-17.

Playing the second game to stay in the tournament, Saina Nehwal seemed livelier and took the fight to her Danish opponent.

Having taken an 11-7 lead, though, the Indian lost steam and allowed Christophersen to restore parity at 12-12. From there on, the Dane pushed home her advantage to win the second game 21-17 as well.

Indian women’s doubles pair Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy also bowed out of the tournament after a 21-18, 21-9 semi-final loss to the first-seeded Thai team of Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai.

In men’s doubles, though, Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnu Vardhan Goud Panjala continued their golden run at the tournament.

The duo reached the final after dispatching England’s Callum Hemming and Steven Stallwood by a comfortable 21-17, 21-17 scoreline in the semi-finals.

Ashwini Ponnappa and her partner Dhruv Kapila were also shown the door from the mixed doubles event by Danish pair Niclas Nohr and Amalie Magelund. The Danes won their semi-final clash 21-9, 21-23, 21-7.