Australian Open : Saina Beats World No 2 To storm into Finals
India’s top shuttler Saina Nehwal came out with her A-level game Weekend to beat Chinese top seeds Shixian Wang and make her first super Series last in 20 several weeks at the $750,000 Australia Start here.
World No.2 Shixian fought extremely hard but had to relent to the ongoing stress from India’s 6th seeds. In the end, the scoreline study 21-19, 16-21, 21-15 in favor of the Hyderabadi, who won marathon women’s singles semifinal in one hour and 16 minutes at the States Sports Centre. With the win the World No.8 Saina, who last showed up in a super Series last at the France Start in Oct 2012, took a 5-3 lead in career meetings over the former World No.1.
The indian will next face Spanish World No.11 Carolina Marin, who made her first Incredibly Series peak conflict after defeating Japan’s Yui Hashimoto 21-17, 21-16 in the other semifinal. The Olympic brown medallist can take center from the point that she won the only conference between them so far last year in Indonesia.
Saina rediscovered some of her best form in thwarting the long-time rival. The match was played at a high level with little separating the two. Shixian had two straight wins over Saina coming here but it was the sixth seed who looked more confident as she chased down Shixian’s shots.
With a 12-7 lead in the second, it looked like Saina was cruising to a comfortable win but at this point Shixian dug in to play some of her best badminton. Shifting to a higher gear and showing greater intensity, the Chinese reeled off a sequence of points, thanks in part to some unusual forehand shots that left the Indian stranded. At 16-15 came the defining moment as Shixian unleashed her steep and deceptive slices to open a breach in her opponent’s defences. Saina took a medical timeout but the break only allowed Shixian to sew up the game with three of the next four points.
The third game continued in the same vein. It was touch-and-go until 13-all, after which Shixian’s accuracy deserted. A few of her shots landed marginally outside while Saina’s own skills came to her aid. The Indian won matchpoint with a decisive smash and entered the final when her opponent sent her own smash wide.