Birmingham: It was supposed to be the badminton star Saina Nehwal best chance of winning the coveted title but she went down in straight games to unseeded Japanese Eriko Hirose in the quarterfinals.

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 on Friday.

The match was contested evenly to start with but Hirose, who was a semifinalist at the event once before as well, too 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.

(Agencies)