Denmark Open 2018: Saina Nehwal pushes her way through to reach the semi-finals
Saina Nehwal beat the 8th seed Nozomi Okuhara to reach the semi-final of HSBC World Tour Super 750 tournament- Denmark Open. In a thrilling 58 minute match, Saina and Nozomi gave each other a tough battle to lock a position in the Semi-Finals. The match went in Nehwal's favour with scores of 17-21 21-16 21-12.
Saina started her game with a disappointment for her fans as she trailed Nozomi with a huge gap. She made some critical unforced errors which acted as a huge barrier for her as it stopped her from closing the gap and winning the first set.
At the interval, Okhurara had a 5 point lead over her Indian opponent which was a setback for Saina. Following the mid-game break, both players played long rallies to battle out each and every point, not willing to lose this face-off. The game was fast-paced as Nozomi increased her lead further which completely pushed Saina off from taking the first set.
However, Nehwal tried to close the gap but fell short as the Japanese wrapped up the first game 21-17.
The next began with a bang for Saina as she played a smash on the line which Nozomi could not defend. However, Nozomi was quick to take the lead as Saina trailed again at Okuhara-10 and Nehwal-7. With a successful challenge, Saina was able to close the gap at 10-10 before Nozomi took the final point as they both left the court for the mid-game break. Both the players reached 12- all before Saina took the lead to push the game into the decider set.
In the last set, Nehwal took control of the game early as she didn't let Okuhara take the lead. Saina increased the gap as Okuhara did not get a chance to attack and challenged her opponent. She was quick to seal her victory 21-12.
With this victory, Saina is now in the semi-finals against Indonesia's Gregoria Mariska Tunjung. The winner of their match would set up a match against the winner of He Bingjiao and Tai Tzu Ying.
For India's male players, Kidambi edged out Sameer Verma to set up a clash against World number one Kento Momota.