India’s challenge came to an end in the second round of the India Open, newly upgraded to a Super 750 tournament, on Thursday.
Defending champion Lakshya Sen lost a rollercoaster three-game battle while Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty withdrew due to injury, thereby ending their title defence.
Former champion Saina Nehwal as well as the doubles pairs of Tressa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand and Vishnuvardhan Goud and Krishna Prasad also went down before the quarterfinals in Delhi.
Denmark’s Rasmus Gemke fought back from a game down to beat Sen16-21, 21-15, 21-18 while Saina lost to Olympic champion Chen Yu Fei of China 21-9, 21-12 in the women’s singles second round clash.
Sen vs Gemke was the match of the day with long, gruelling rallies and a couple of sensational points from the Indian in the match that lasted over 80 minutes. In the decider, he fought back from a 1-8 and then 8-14 deficit with remarkable shots but it wasn’t enough as errors on crucial points let him down.
In the quarter-finals, Gemke will now face top seed and compatriot Viktor Axelsen, who needed three games to beat China’s Shi Yu Qi 21-16, 16-21, 21-9.
Also advancing to the next round were fourth seed Jonatan Christie of Indonesia, third seed Loh Kean Yew of Singapore and fifth seed Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei in men’s singles. Top seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, Spaniard Carolina Marin, He Bingjiao of China, and Supanida Katethong, who beat PV Sindhu in the opener, also reached the quarterfinals in women’s singles.
In doubles, both Indians pairs went down to higher ranked pairs from China. Treesa and Gayatri saved four match points but could not avoid a 21-9, 21-16 loss against sixth seeds Zhang Shu Xian and Zheng Yu while Krishna and Vishuvardhan lost to Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang 14-21, 10-21.