KUALA LUMPUR : India had a disappointing start to the 2023 season as the ace shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Saina Nehwal suffered an early exit from the Malaysia Open Super 1000 after losing their respective opening round matches on Tuesday.
Srikanth, who is struggling with his form, was handed a 19-21, 14-21 straight-game defeat at the hands of Nishimoto in 42 minutes of play while Nehwal lost 12-21, 21-17, 12-21 to the world no 13 Chinese Han Yue here at Axiata Arena.
Coming into the match, Srikanth was leading 5-1 in the head-to-head record. The Japanese shuttler's win over the ace Indian is the first since he defeated the Indian in the 2018 Hong Kong Open.
Tuesday's match was world no 13's seventh international meeting with Nishimoto and the first since the 2019 Indonesia Open where Srikanth toppled the Japanese in straight games.
In another women's singles match, Aakarshi Kashyap too bowed out after losing 10-21, 8-21 against Wen Chi Hsu of Taipei.
Later in the day, Commonwealth Games 2022 bronze medallist women's doubles pair Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand will begin their campaign against Yeung Nga Ting and Yeung Pui Lam of Hong Kong.
The men's doubles duo of Krishna Prasad Garaga and Vishnuvardhan Goud Panjala will be up against the Korean combination of Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae.