Guangzhou, Nov 18: India's gold medal hope Saina Nehwal suffered a shock defeat in the women's singles quarter-finals as country's campaign ended in the badminton event of the Asian Games here today.
World number three Saina lost 8-21 21-8 19-18 to last edition's silver medallist and world number 12 Yip Pui Yin in the fiercely fought quarter-final, which lasted 46 minutes.
Saina was carrying millions of Indian hopes as all of her compatriots had already crashed of their respective events early in the day.
The second seed Saina came back well after surrendering the opening game but her weak net-play, in comparison to her sixth seed rival, dented her chances severely.
The Indian saved a match point in the decisive game but a service error at crucial 19-20 stage sealed her fate.
Both the players fought their hearts out in the third and final game. Even till the deep end the scores were tied 18-18.
Yip attacked Saina's backhand throughout the match and earned her first match point with the same strategy with a smash winner.
Saina managed to save that and got her service back but unforced error on the next point brought curtains on her campaign.
At Beijing Olympics also Saina had lost at the same quarter-final stage.
Early in the day, men's singles player Aravind Bhat and mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V Diju also crashed out.
Bhat lost 19-21 12-21 to world number sixth Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand in his second round encounter at the Tianhe Gymnasium here.
Jwala and Diju further plunged the Indian camp in dismay as they squandered a first game advantage to lose a gruelling battle against Koreans Baekcheol Shin and Hyojung Lee in the mixed doubles event.
The Indian pair lost 21-17 13-21 16-21 against the Korean combination in a 36-minute match.
Bhat, who had got a walk over in his opening round match against Niluka Karunaratne of Sri Lanka, found it tough to negotiate the smashes of Poonsana as the Thai player scored 20 smash points compared to Bhat's seven.
In the first game, Bhat caught up with Poonsana after trailing 5-10 to make it 12-12 and moved neck-to-neck till 17-17 but the Thai shuttler marched ahead from there on.
In the second game, Poonsana opened a six point lead and did not allow the Indian to come back as Bhat's game crumbled. PTI