Double Olympic medallist PV Sindhu and rising star Lakshya Sen made quarterfinal exits in their respective singles events, ending India’s challenge in the Indonesia Open Super Series 500 tournament on Friday.
Sen was first to be eliminated as the 20-year-old went down fighting and forced a decider against his higher-seeded Chinese Taipei rival Chou Tien Chen 21-16 12-21 21-14.
India’s last hope then rested on Sindhu but the former world champion went down without a fight to her old foe Ratchanok Intanon 12-21, 10-21 in a match lasting a little over half an hour.
The 27-year-old was at her dominating best and looked at ease in both attacks and defence as the Indian was never able to fight back and suffered her fifth straight loss against her Thai rival.
After pocketing the first game easily, Intanon looked even more furious in the second and raced to a 10-point lead before sealing the issue in 33 minutes to improve her head-to-head against Sindhu to 9-4.
Sindhu, who made a semifinal exit in the Thailand Open last month, had earned a hard-fought victory over Gregoria Mariska Tunjung to enter the quarterfinals.
Earlier, World Championships bronze medalist Sen bounced back from behind to level the second game but the third-seed from Chinese Taipei was superior in the decider with a 21-16 12-21 21-14 scoreline in his favour.
This was Sen’s second straight defeat against Chou in less than a month. Sen lost to his Chinese Taipei rival 19-21 21-13 17-21 during the group stage of the Thomas Cup, before turning it around to script a historic triumph.
The 2018 Asian Games silver medallist, who had defeated the Indian in the group stage of the Thomas Cup in their only previous meeting, put up a power-packed show in the decider and mounted early pressure on the 20-year-old.
The world No. 4 from Chinese Taipei annexed three points in a row to build a six-point lead midway into the decider.
Sen was engaged in some superb rallies towards the end and even saved two match points but his valiant effort was not good enough as the experienced 32-year-old maintained his lead to make it a 2-0 in head-to-head against the Indian.