A fighting Saina Nehwal was knocked out of the USD 700,000 French Open after going down in straight games to Korea's An Se-young in the women's singles quarterfinals at Paris on Friday.
The 29-year-old Indian, who had claimed the Indonesia Masters in January this year, lost 20-22 21-23 to world no 16 Young after a 49-minute thrilling contest.
It was her first quarterfinal appearance since making it to the final eight at the Badminton Asia Championship in April this year. Saina had lost in the first round in the last three tournaments at China, Korea and Denmark.
Saina fell back early in the opening game with Young opening up a 7-2 lead. The Indian slowly narrowed the gap to 7-8 and had grabbed a slender 15-12 lead for a brief period at one stage but the Korean soon clawed her way back.
Young reached 18-15 but a fighting Saina was the first to grab a game point at 20-19 but the Korean eventually pocketed the game with three straight points.
In the second game, Young again surged to a 5-2 lead before Saina turned the tables, moving to 7-5 but the Korean soon stepped on the gas and jumped to a 16-11 lead.
The experienced Saina once again drew parity at 18-18 but Young managed to grab two match points.
The Indian then reeled off three straight points to make it 21-20 but once again it was Young who held her nerves to move ahead and shut the door on her fancied rival.
Saina, who had reached the final of the French Open in 2012, will next play at the Saarlorlux Open starting October 29.
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