Birmingham, Mar 12: It was supposed to be her best chance of winning the coveted title but Saina Nehwal let it slip as she went down in straight games to unseeded Japanese Eriko Hirose in the quarterfinals of the prestigious All England Badminton Championship here.
The fifth-seeded Saina, who was expected to win at the event given teh absence of some top Chinese players, lost 21-11 22-20 to her little-known Japanese rival yesterday.
The match was contested evenly to start with but Hirose, who was a semifinalist at the event once before as well, took control by breaking through the rallies that Saina generally wraps up in her favour.
Saina came back in the second game and it went neck and neck but the Indian ultimately fell short as Hirose held her nerves to clinch the issue.
With Saina's loss, India's campaign at the event ended as all her compatriots had already crashed out in previous rounds.