The star attraction of the evening produced staggered bouts of aggressive badminton to tame a spirited challenge from the diminutive Ying Tai Tzu. The young Taipei star troubled Saina Nehwal with some crafty court coverage and a high serve but the experienced Indian battled to a hard fought victory in three games – 21-17, 14-21, 11-8 to give the Hotshots their second point of the evening.
The stadium turned into a volcano of exuberant cheers as the crowd favourite Saina Nehwal made her way to the court. The world No. 4 did not disappoint her wildly cheering fans taking immediate control of the first game. Saina’s raw aggression proved a steep challenge to the 19-year-old Taiwanese girl and at 7-4, the Indian’s advantage transcended the three point gap on the scorecard.
Saina’s opened up a five point gap immediately after getting back into play. Incredibly, the teenager from Taiwan showed remarkable poise and grit to work her way back into the game from a four point deficit at 11-15. Ying produced a thrilling spell of badminton perched in the midcourt, riding her reflexes to inch closer at 17-16.
Eventually though, Saina rediscovered her aggression to win three points in a row to stifle the blossoming challenge of her opponent and snatch the game 21-17. Ying set the tone of the second game with a powerful smash to Saina’s forehand side as she took a 5-3 lead. But the crafty Haryanvi responded with a well placed half smash to rein in the ambitions of her young opponent and draw level at 5-5.
The young Taiwanese showed persistent guile to draw Saina side to side before flooring her with a well placed smash to retake the lead at 7-6. Just as the first the second was turning out to be a tight affair and Saina sought to break free with a powerful smash. The world No. 8 responded with a solid display of desperate defense to stay even at 8-8.
The teenager from Taipei broke away from the Indian, stretching her into the backhand corner as she took a 14-12 lead. Leading 16-14, Ying powered herself to five straight points, serving high into the backhand side of Saina to take the second game and stretch the match into the decisive third game.
The tension inside the arena mounted and so did the pitch of the vociferous support for Saina. The battle was evenly poised at 5-5 as the match reached a decisive phase. Saina took a two point lead with a powerful smash into the forecourt at 7-5. Ying reduced the lead to one when Saina dumped a backhand into the net at 8-6.
With time running out on the Taipei player, a brilliantly disguised smash gave her renewed hope as she remained in striking distance at 9-8. Saina’s backhand nicked the line when Ying let the bird drop and the Indian had match point. She took it on the next point to collect the second point for the local team.