Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal reached the women’s singles semifinals with a comfortable straight-game win, but compatriot P V Sindhu failed to cross the quarterfinal hurdle in the USD 750,000 Star Australian Super Series, in Sydney on Friday.
While Sindhu, seeded eighth, lost 17-21 17-21 against Carolina Marin of Spain, sixth seeded Saina got the better of Eriko Hirose of Japan 21-18 21-9 in 47 minutes to set up a clash against world no. 2 Chinese shuttler Shixian Wang in the last four stage of the tournament.
Saina enjoys a 4-3 record against two-time All England champion Wang but the last couple of times they met, the Chinese had won on both the occasions.
The London Olympics bronze-medallist Indian got off to a fine start on Friday against her Japanese opponent, as she straight away opened up a 4-0 lead and quickly widened the gap to 8-2. But Hirose fought her way back to make it 10-10.
Although Saina always held an upper hand and maintained a slender lead, Hirose once again came from behind to make it 18-18.
But World No. 8 Saina held on to hold her nerves and was quick to take the next three points to wrap the opening game.
A dominant display in the second game by Saina left the Japanese girl gasping for breath. And the only time Hirose even came close to the shuttler from Hyderabad was at 2-3.
“Won a tough quarter final against Hirose. I play Wang Shixian in the semi final on Saturday. Keep supporting me friends,” Saina wrote on her twitter handle after winning the quarterfinal match.
Sindhu, world no. 10, fought her heart out for 47 minutes but could not overcome the challenge posed by the 11th ranked Spaniard.
Opening game was a closely fought affair with the two shuttlers exchanging leads time and again. The game kept oscillating from one end to another till it was tied at 17-17.
At this stage, Carolina broke off and reeled four consecutive points to seal the first game 21-17 in her favour. Sindhu tried hard to make a comeback in the second game, and put up a good fight. But it lasted only till 7-7.
The Spaniard bagged a couple of points to surge ahead and then capitalised on the advantage to maintain a slight edge.
At 20-15, when Carolina was serving for the match, Sindhu managed to save two match points, but eventually went down to crash out of the competition.
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