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Saina seals semifinal spot, Sindhu sinks at Malaysia Open

Saina-Nehwal

Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal sealed a semifinal spot after a hard-fought victory but compatriot P V Sindhu crumbled under pressure to bow out of the women’s singles competition at the Malaysia Open Super Series Premier tournament here today.

World No. 8 Saina dug deep into her vast experience as she recovered from a game deficit to beat Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk 19-21 21-14 21-14 in a 58-minute clash at the quarterfinals stage of the USD 550,000 event. Saina had beaten Porntip seven times in their last eight meetings.

The Olympic bronze medallist Indian will next meet Tai Tzu Ying tomorrow. Saina has a 5-8 record against the Chinese Taipei shuttler, who has beaten the Indian in their last five meetings, including in last month’s All England Championship.

The experience of beating the World No. 4 Ratchanok Intanon at the Korea Open last year, however, did not quite help Sindhu as she suffered her fourth defeat to the Thai girl in five meetings, going down 7-21 8-21 in 29 minutes.

With both the matches happening on adjacent courts, Saina and Sindhu both faced defeats in the opening game. Saina managed a comeback, but 20-year-old Sindhu was out of sorts as she was outplayed by her opponent.

Saina trailed 3-6 early on and even though she caught up after the break at 14-14, Porntip managed to get the better of the Indian in the opening game.

In the second game, Saina led 11-7 at the interval and then moved into a 20-13 lead, despite a fighting Porntip narrowing it down to 12-13 at one point. The Indian closed the game comfortably to bounce back into the contest.

In the decider, Saina continued her dominance and did not give any chance to Porntip as she led 5-1 initially and then sealed the issue to advance to her third successive semifinals this season.

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