Saina reaches China Open final
Fuzhou (China): Leading Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal notched up a thrilling straight-game win to enter the women's singles final of the $700,000 China Open Super Series Premier here Saturday.
The Olympic bronze medallist defeated Chinese Liu Xin 21-17, 21-17 in 47 minutes at the Haixia Olympic Sport Center to take a 2-0 lead in career meetings. This is Saina's second Super Series final after clinching the Australian Open in June.
Sixth seed Saina will now face Japanese World No.35 Akane Yamaguchi, who upset South Korean fifth seed Yeon Ju Bae 21-10, 25-23 in the other semi-final, for their first ever match.
The World No.5 Indian took time to get into her rhythm and Liu looked the better among the duo at the start, taking a 7-4 lead to pressurise Saina briefly.
However, the 24-year-old Hyderabadi began to control the proceedings and equalised at 11-all. Saina went on to earn points regularly despite tough competition from the Chinese World No.17.
Liu conceded more points and taking advantage of that, Saina clinched the game in no time.
In the second game, it was a neck-and-neck contest till the 9-point mark before Saina bagged a 12-9 lead. Liu raised her game and managed to equalise at 14-all, also taking a two-point lead (16-14).
But Saina sent a flurry of cross-court smashes to grab a six-point lead and seal the game in her favour.
Kidambi Srikanth will play his men's singles semi-final later in the day.