Last stand ends in quarters

Saina’s loss in the last-eight stage of All England Championship ends Indian hopes in the event.

Birmingham | Published: March 9, 2014 1:48:23 am

Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal was outplayed by Chinese nemesis Shixian Wang in a lop-sided quarterfinal, bringing to an end India’s campaign in the All England Badminton Championship.

The world number 7 Indian lost 17-21 10-21 against fourth seed and world number 3 Shixian Wang in a duel which lasted 43 minutes.

In a one-sided contest, Wang, against whom Saina had a 4-2 overall record heading into the match, dominated all through to set up a clash against compatriot and second seed Yihan Wang. Wang beat Korea’s Yeon Ju Bae 21-8 21-13 in her quarterfinal contest. Wang is the reigning world champion besides being a silver-medallist at the World Championships. Saina, who had lost to Shixian in their most recent encounter in the Swiss Open last year, was off-colour from the word go.

Her trademark smashes were nowhere to be seen and, in fact, the Indian, a semifinalist in the previous edition of the event, failed to pull off even one of them in either of the two games. The Olympic bronze-medallist, who entered the tournament claiming that she was back to her best after clinching the Syed Modi Indian Open, fought for a while in the opening game but collapsed completely in the second.

Saina was the only Indian left in the championships as World No. 10 P V Sindhu found the going tough on her debut and lost to Sun Yu of China in the first round.

TOWARDS A HAPPY ENDING

China’s holder Chen Long and his girlfriend Wang Shixian are on track for a happy ending to their love affair with the All England Open Badminton Championships after reaching the singles semi-finals on Friday.

Chen kept his title defence alive by overcoming an early scare to beat Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, who showed his pedigree to win the first game 21-18.

However, Chen composed himself at the break and then showed his qualities to take the next two games 21-11 21-14.

“I was worried especially during the first game because my opponent is a great player so I did feel quite a lot of pressure at one point,” said Chen. “But I think both of us performed really well so I think in the end I was really lucky to progress. This is a very unique place and many players want to win.

“And it’s a fine line between winning and losing so I just want to try my best.”

Chen next faces compatriot Zhengming Wang who beat South Korean Dong Keun Lee 21-13 16-21 21-17 in his quarter-final.

Wang, who eased past Saina, knows that to match her partner Chen’s achievement of reaching the final last year she must be confident. “I think for every athlete confidence is the key thing and every time I win a match it gives me a boost,” said Wang. “Even though the scoreboard might not have said it, it was a very tough match for me. I need to go into every match with confidence because that is the only way that I can beat my opponents.”

Chris and Gabby Adcock, hoping to become the first English husband-and-wife team to win the mixed doubles title at the Yonex championships since the 1930s, went out to Olympic champions Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei in the last eight.

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