Barcelona: Saina Nehwal and Sameer Verma failed to advance to the last four of Barcelona Spain Masters 2020 after losses in their women's singles and men's singles quarter-finals, respectively on Friday. Ajay Jayaram remains the only Indian in the fray after he reached the semi-finals.
Saina, who held a 3-2 head-to-head advantage over Thailand's Busanan Ongbamrungphan ahead of the encounter, was edged out by the Thai in an extremely close encounter that went right down to the wire in both games.
Saina lost 20-22, 19-21 to Ongbamrungphan in 45 minutes to bow out of the tournament. Saina is currently ranked 18th in the world while the Thai is five places up on 13th. In Barcelona, Saina was seeded two places below Ongbamrungphan at fifth.
Ongbamrungphan has now got the better of Saina the last three times they have met. The Indian had defeated the Thai in their first three encounters but since then, Ongbamrungphan has grown leaps and bounds and has defeated Saina in Thailand Open 2017, China Open 2019 and now, Barcelona Spain Masters 2020.
Sameer Verma, on the other hand, went down to two-time Junior World Champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand in three games.
He lost 21-17, 17-21, 12-21 in an hour and three minutes in what was the first encounter between the two.
Vitidsarn is currently ranked two places below Sameer at 32 in the BWF rankings.
Earlier, Ajay Jayaram stormed into the last four with an emphatic 2114, 21-15 win over France's Thomas Rouxel in just 37 minutes. Jayaram had defeated compatriot Kidambi Srikanth in the previous round.