Saina Nehwal’s hopes of a successful title defence at the Djarum Indonesia Open – 2013 met with bitter disappointment at the gritty hands of the veteran Juliane Schenk. The Indian lost a pulsating semi-final in three games 21-12, 13-21, 14-21 to the determined German who made the most of her experience and court sense to outwit the defending champion in 52 minutes. It was a memorable come from behind victory for the 30-year-old, to make up for her loss in the quarters last year to Xuerui Li.
Schenk, who is on her own after cutting her ties with the German federation, showed early intent when she went straight at Saina to draw level at 2-2. The next point fell her way too when Saina let the shuttle drop at the back of the court, only to see it fall on the line.
After Saina went into the lead at 6-5, Juliane made clever use of court position to move her opponent side to side before killing the bird by dumping it in the forecourt. Incredibly the world No. 3 reeled away seven straight points to jump to a 12-6 lead.
A forehand error from the German offered a little breathing room to the Indian and Saina made good use of the break in the flow of the game to work her way back into the game. Schenk sent one long to allow Saina to even scores at 12-12.
A sharp drop to the feet of Schenk restored the lead to Saina. The world No.2 made good on the upswing by riding the wave cleverly, rustling her clearly rattled opponent racing through the points at a blistering pace. When Schenk failed to pick one off her backhand, ending in the net, Saina won an amazing 14 points in a row to earn game point.