Carlos Alcaraz boosted his hopes of finishing ATP Year-End No. 1 for a second consecutive year on Monday when he downed Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-2 to reach his 12th semifinal of the season at the China Open.
The dismal run is not yet over for ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal, who has now crashed out of the ongoing Hong Kong Open after suffering a crushing straight-games defeat to China’s Cai Yan Yan in her first-round contest on Wednesday.
Currently ranked 9 in the world rankings, Saina has now lost five of her last six tournaments in the opening round itself.
Saina failed to put up any fight against her Chinese opponent as she lost the match 13-21, 20-22 in just 30 minutes to bow out of the $400,000 tournament.
The eighth-seeded Indian was no match in the first game as she lost 13-212 to Cai.
However, she came out with a better fight in the second game as she started positively and took an early lead. The Chinese, however, got back to level terms at 4-4 and then comfortably stayed ahead till 18-14.
The 29-year-old Indian then went on to win five points straight to take the lead again. However, she squandered a game point at 20-19 and Cai took the next three points to seal the game 22-20 and enter the second round.
This was Saina’s second consecutive opening round defeat to the Chinese, having also gone down in straight sets at the China Open earlier this month. In Fuzhou, Saina had lost 9-21, 12-21 to Cai in just 24 minutes to bow out of the competition.