Saina breaks jinx
By N Jagannath Das | ENS - HYDERABAD
21st October 2012 12:10 PM
Saina Nehwal avenged her London Olympics semi-final defeat against Wang Yihan, in similar fashion when she won the bronze medal with Wang Xin forfeiting the match with a knee injury. On Saturday, Saina, who has a 0-6 record against world number one Yihan, won 21-12, 12-7 with the Indian being declared winner after the Chinese withdrew from the semi-final tie with a possible ligament tear in her right leg in the second game.
Playing in her first tournament after the London Olympics, third seed Saina meets sixth seed Julian Schenk of Germany in the final of the Denmark Open Super Series Premier badminton tournament on Sunday. Schenk outlasted number eight seed Yanjiao Jiang of China 13-21, 21-14, 21-15 in the first semi-final. Perhaps, after many years, it will be a non-Chinese affair in the women’s final in a major tournament. Saina has a 5-3 record against Schenk.
Saina was fast and powerful against Yihany. The left-handed Yihan fought bravely but Saina was unstoppable. The Indian played a smart game to outwit Yihan in the first game. It started on an even note with six-all but thereafter Saina raised her game. She took a decisive 11-6 lead. Playing some deceptive shots, Saina jumped into a 15-9 lead.
Yihan took two points to narrow the lead to 10-15. Saina reeled off five successive points from 17-12 to win the first game in 13 minutes to leave Yihan dispirited. There was no change in the script in the second game also. Saina called the shots after taking a good 9-2 lead. Yihan rallied to take four successive points to narrow down to 6-9.
But Saina played astonishing game to regain control of the match. She was up 12-7 when Yihan complained of a pain on her right leg. The doctors attended Yihan before the Chinese threw in the towel. At London, Xin Wang stumbled and walked off with a knee injury. In that match, Wang won the first game 21-18 and was leading the second 1-0.
Chief coach Pullela Gopichand, who did not accompany Saina to Denmark, said it was a great win for Saina. “I liked the way she has played so far. It is a good return to big-time badminton. She looks good to win the title tomorrow,” he said.
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