ORLEANS: India’s London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal suffered another setback in her return in her comeback trial as she went down to Neslihan Yigit of Turkey in the women’s singles first round of Orleans Masters Badminton 2023 here on Wednesday.
Saina, who has slumped to early defeats and missed some events in the last season, went down 16-21, 14-21 in the opening round of the main draw at the Palais Des Sports in Orleans.
It was a mixed day for India in the USD 240,000 prize money BWF World Tour Super 300 event as Tanya Hemanth in women’s singles and Mithun Manjunath in men’s singles reached the second round, while Tasnim Mir, Aakarshi Kashyap (women’s singles) and Sameer Verma lost in the first round while Priyanshu Rajawat lost to compatriot Kiran George 21-18, 21-13.
In women’s singles, Tanya Hemanth defeated Huet LeOnice of France 21-17, 21-18 in 40 minutes but Aakarshi Kashyap went down 8-21, 21-13, 8-21 in a first-round match while Tasnim Mir went down to Germany’s Yvonne Li in three games 22-20, 13-21, 5-21 in a 44-minute clash.
In men’s singles, Mithun Manjunath moved into the second round getting the better of Victor Svendsen of Denmark 24-22, 25-23 in a hard-fought encounter. In another match, India’s Sameer Verma went down to Nhat Nguyen in three games, losing 21-19, 19-21, 17-21 in nearly one and a half hours.
Saina was India’s best hope in the event but could not get her rhythm in the match as Neslihan Yigit took control from the start. The player from Turkey opened a 5-0 lead and then extended it to 11-4 in game one. Saina fought back to bring down the gap to 10-12. Scores went neck and neck before Neslihan went on to win the game 21-16.
In the second game too, the Turkish player went ahead 4-0 and though Saina reduced the margin to 4-6, Neslihan won the next six points to go up 10-4 as she maintained her upper hand till the end and won the game 21-14. IANS