Star Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal has been knocked out of the ongoing edition of the Thailand Open after a 23-21, 14-21, and 16-21 loss to Thailand's Busanan Ongbamrungphan in an intense second-round match that lasted over an hour (68 minutes) on Thursday.
The 2012 Olympic bronze medalist had dominated in the first set but failed to continue the momentum thereafter as she ended up conceding the next two sets. Nehwal's Thailand counterpart, on the other hand, showed a lot of intensity after losing the first set as she staged a great comeback not only to win the contest but also to progress to the next round of the tournament.
Meanwhile, this was Saina's fourth straight loss to world number 12 Busanan. Coming back to Thailand Open, the 30-year-old who had been tested positive before the start of the tournament along with HS Prannoy, had defeated Malaysia's Kisona Selvaduray in straight games on Wednesday after being cleared to participate in the tournament post negative COVID-19 test.
In the men's singles, Kidambi Srikanth's opponent Lee Zii Jia was handed a walkover on Thursday. The ace Indian shuttler had defeated Indian compatriot Sourabh Verma in the first round and was set to face Malaysian Badminton star, Lee Zii Jia. However, an injury forced him to withdraw his name from the competition.
In fact, Srikanth took to Twitter to confirm that he had to pull out of the tournament after he sustained a right calf muscle pull. However, he hopes to be fit by next week for the next round of the Thailand leg.
Very sad to let you all know that I have been advised to pull out of Thailand Open due to a calf muscle strain. I am hoping to be fit by next week for the next round of the Thailand leg. pic.twitter.com/jXTr4P25QF— Kidambi Srikanth (@srikidambi) January 14, 2021
Ironically, it was revealed that the shuttler suffered from nose bleeding on Tuesday following the mandatory PCR test. An official statement regarding the same was also released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) as well.
"The athlete had been swabbed three times earlier with the most recent one possibly causing irritation and fragility of the capillaries. Therefore, when the swab was repeated on Tuesday, and factoring in the athlete’s tense nature, the position of the stick in the nasal passage was misaligned, which caused the slight bleeding noticed from the tip of the swab."
The statement also claimed there was no bleeding at the time of the PCR test, but blood was reported by other Indian participants at least three to five minutes later. "It is not known whether the athlete had blown his nose or stuck tissue up his nostrils which could have caused more blood vessels to rupture."