Rio de Janeiro: India’s premier shuttler Saina Nehwal on Sunday suffered a huge upset against World No.61 Marija Ulitina of Ukraine in her second match of Group G as she was eliminated of the Olympic Games here.
Ulitina, 24, caused a huge upset registering a 21-18, 21-19 win against the World No.5 and 2012 London Games bronze medallist Saina.
The 26-year-old Indian, a top medal contender, failed to find her rhythm and looked slow as she was not moving well within the court. Saina also conceded a lot of points on misjudgement and was not able to retrieve once the shuttle moved behind her.
Saina started the first game in a dominating way building a 7-1 lead but the 24-year-old Ukrainian soon pulled up her socks levelling the game at 8-8.
Saina just edged past the mid-game interval with a two-point lead. After the interval there was a neck-to-neck fight for every point, levelling the score at 17-17 before the World No.61 took three point of trot.
Saina tried to fight back but Ulitina sealed the game 21-18 in 19 minutes at Pavillion Four of Riocentro.
In the second game, the Indian star shuttler barely managed a slender one-point lead at the mid-game interval.
The second game saw many tough shots and some thunderous body and diagonal smashes by Ulitina.
After the interval, things were equal at 15-15, 18-18 and 19-19 before the Ukrainian clinched two points and the match, ending the Indian’s hopes.
P.V. Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth will also play their respective group stage matches.