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Saina reach finals of Syed Modi

Lucknow: London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal reached her first finals in 15 months after the Indian ace packed off sixth seed Chinese Xuan Deng in a thrilling three-game women's singles match of the Syed
PTI January 25, 2014 18:11 IST
PTI
Lucknow: London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal reached her first finals in 15 months after the Indian ace packed off sixth seed Chinese Xuan Deng in a thrilling three-game women's singles match of the Syed Modi International badminton tournament here today.



The top seeded Indian let out a huge scream after eking out a hard-fought 21-14 17-21 21-19 victory over world number 49 Xuan in the semi-final clash, which lasted an hour and 19 minutes at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium.

In men's singles, young Aditya Prakash could not extend his dream run any further as he went down 10-21 7-21 to ninth seed Xue Song of China in the semifinals.

The women's singles semifinal clash between Saina and Xuan turned out to be a edge-of-the-seat thriller even though 40 ranking places separated the two.

Saina was untouchable in the first game as she kept a distance right from the start to the end even though Xuan kept breathing down her neck throughout the game.

In the second game, Xuan opened up a slender 6-4 lead early on but Saina was quick to march ahead from 7-7. However, the Chinese gathered five straight points to grab the lead at 15-14 and with Saina succumbing to unforced errors, Xuan roared back into the contest.

In the decider, Saina was erratic as her shuttles went wide and long and in a flash she was lagging 0-7. The Indian drew her first point with a cross court smash and then engaged in a fierce rally and slowly climbed her way to equalise at 8-8 when Xuan hit long.