The semi-finals of the Syed Modi International India Grand Prix Gold tournament provided top seed Saina Nehwal much needed relief when she outclassed sixth seed Xuan Deng (China) 21-14, 17-21, 21-19 to make the final. This will be the first time that she has made the final of a tournament in more than a year.
Saina will face second seed PV Sindhu in the summit clash. Sindhu beat fourth seed Lindaweni Fanetri of Indonesia 21-6, 12-21, 21-17 in another keenly-contested fight which lasted for a little over an hour.
In the men’s singles final, sixth seed K Srikanth of India will face ninth seed Xue Song of China. While Srikanth defeated compatriot and seventh seed HS Prannoy 21-18, 22-20, Xue Song beat Aditya Prakash of India 21-10, 21-7 in their respective semi-final clashes.
The semi-final clash between World no. 9 Saina Nehwal and World no. 49 Xuan Deng was a thriller. Saina exercised an upper hand in the first game from the very beginning and won it 21-14. However, in the second game, Xuan took a slender lead at 4-6 but Saina levelled it at 7-7 and even lead 14-10 but thereafter Xuan collected four straight points to bring parity to the scores. Deng kept fighting for each point and won the second game 17-21.
In the decider, Saina trailed 0-7 but equalised at 8-8. Ultimately, Saina prevailed in what was a close game, 21-19.
In men’s doubles, the Chinese pair of Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen of China registered a 21-18, 21-15 victory over Indian pair Pranav Jerry Chopra and Akshay Dewalkar in the semis.