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Saina seals semifinal spot in Asian Badminton Championship
Wuhan: Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal continued her consistent run in international circuit, reaching yet another semifinal at the USD 200,000 Asia Badminton Championship here on Friday.
In a battle of long rallies, the 26-year-old Indian held her nerves in tricky situations to eke out a 21-16 21-19 win over former World Champion Shixian Wang of China in the women’s singles quarterfinal that lasted 56 minutes.
The World No. 8 Indian, who had registered semifinal finishes in the Swiss Grand Prix Gold, India Super Series and Malaysia Super Series Premier Open before skipping the Singapore Open, will take on the winner of the match between Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara and China’s Yihan Wang.
Saina, who had lost the last two meetings with Wang, tried to be patient during the energy-sapping rallies but many times she failed to control the shuttle and lost point by hitting wide and long.
In the opening game, Saina lead 3-0 and held a narrow 11-10 advantage at the break but pocketed four straight points to reach 15-10. After a battle for supremacy, Wang narrowed it down to 16-17.
Saina soon grabbed the opening game after gaining a healthy four-point game point advantage and sealed it when Wang misjudged a shuttle and left that at the baseline.
In the second game, Saina once again created a 3-0 lead before Wang snapped it with a smash. Saina produced a cross court smash but hit long next. The Indian committed a series of unforced errors to allow Wang narrow the lead to 5-6. A net error by the Chinese then gave Saina the lead and with Wang hitting another return at the nets meant Indian was celebrating. (PTI)