Saina began the opening game on a positive note leading 6-1, but the Ukrainian displayed a fearless game not allowing to settle down at any point and troubling her constantly on the cross court. The Indian led 11-10 at the interval in the opening game but following continued to struggle as Ulitina piled on the pressure with a mixture of long hits and drop shots to eventually clinch the opening game 21-18.
Ulitina had beaten Lohaynny Vicente the other member in this group in straight game 21-13 21-13 and by defeating Saina today has progressed through to the Round of 16.
This is now Saina’s worst ever showing at an Olympics, having reached the quarterfinals in Beijing in 2008 and won bronze in London in 2012.
Indian ace shuttler PV Sindhu progressed through to the round of 16 with a resilient win over Canadian rival Michelle Li in her second and final women’s singles group stage contest here at the Rio Olympics on Sunday.
Sindhu maintained her composure despite losing the opening game as she went on to claim a resounding 19-21, 21-15, 21-17 victory over the Canadian opponent in a dramatic contest that lasted one hour and 12 minutes.
Sindhu, the two-time bronze medallist at the World Championship, remains the lone Indian female shuttler in fray in singles following the exit of Saina Nehwal from the prestigious event in a stunning upset earlier in the day.
India, which have sent their largest-ever contingent of 119 athletes in Rio Olympics, are yet to open their medal account in the ongoing Summer Games.