Saina Nehwal beats nemesis Wang Yihan to enter maiden semis, assured of bronze medal

390851-saina-nehwal-returnNEW DELHI: Indian ace Saina Nehwal on Friday entered maiden World Badminton Championship semi-final after beating her Chinese nemesis Wang Yihan in three gruelling sets in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Second-seeded Saina won the match 21-15, 19-21, 21-19 in one hour and twelve minutes. Before the match, the former world number one from China had an intimidating 8-2 overall record against Saina.
After winning the first set comfortably, the 25-year-old Indian conceded the second set, with her Chinese opponent gaining momentum thanks to better court coverage and anticipation at net play.
In the deciding third set, both players produced some heart-stopping relays and pick-ups to the applause of a packed Istora Stadium crowd.
After a long rally at 19-18, Yihan won the point. But the Indian ace produced a nerve-wrecking service return cross-court smash to set up the match point at 20-19. She won the match after a tight rally, with Yihan failing to return a cross-court play.
Saina had lost to Yihan in the semi-final of 2012 London Olympics. Saina’s most recent and second win over her Chinese opponent came in March, in the semi-final of 2015 All England Championships.
The semi-final appearance assures Saina of at least a bronze medal. She came short in her previous five attempts, only reaching the last-eight stage, each time.Saina will play Lindaweni Fanetri of Indonesia, who defeated Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei in another quarter-final.
All England champion and top-seed Carolina Marin of Spain had already booked her last-four spot after beating seventh-seeded Wang Shixian of China. She will play Sung Ji-hyun, who had defeated PV Sindhu in another three gruelling sets 21-17, 19-21, 21-16 earlier in the day.
Sindhu was joined in the exit by doubles team of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa. The Indian duo lost to Japanese pair of Naoko Fukuman and Kurumi Yonao in straight sets 25-23, 21-14.

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