Indonesia Masters 2019: Gritty Saina Nehwal fights her way into the final
Saina Nehwal sailed into the final of Daihatsu Indonesia Masters 2019 with a thrilling win over He BingJiao in a 57-minute game which captivated the audience. The game kept the audience on the edge of their seats as Nehwal sealed the match 18-21 21-12 21-18.
The first set began rather slow for the former World No. 1 as she lost a couple of points. Saina trailed down 5-2 as she made several unforced errors. She was able to level the score at 6-all before establishing her lead at 9-6. Even though He Bingjiao scored a point to shorten the lead to 2 points, a service error from her end increased Saina's score by a point after which Saina took a 4-point lead into the break.
Saina was fired up after the break. With powerful attacks, she was able to build up a 6-point lead with the score being 16-10. He Bingjiao managed to reduce the gap and pocketed 3 points, making the score 16-13. It was now He Bingjiao's turn to score as she managed to level the score to 18-all with a successful challenge.
A strong smash by He Bingjiao got her a lead against Saina Nehwal as she clinched the first set 21-18.
The next set was Saina's chance to get herself an opportunity to enter the final and Saina wasn't going to let it slide by. Nehwal developed an early lead as He Bingjiao made multiple errors, giving in to Saina's lead.
The Indian entered the mid-game interval at 11-3 with an 8-point gap between them. He Bingjiao scored several points but they were not enough to cover up the gap created. The set went to Saina Nehwal at 21-12 as the match flipped into the deciding set.
The third set was a breathtaking one as none of them wanted to lose their ticket to the final. Both of them went head-to-head against each other, not letting either of them develop a lead against their opponent.
It was at 16-16 that Saina took 3 points in a row and got herself a lead but He Bingjiao was quick to catch up at 19-18. It was only going forward for the Indian as she won the match with a powerful smash, with the final score being 18-21, 21-12, 21-18. The smile of victory was evident on the Indian's face as she shook hands with her opponent, the umpire and the service judge.
She set up a fight with world champion Carolina Marin. This is Saina's second consecutive appearance at the Indonesia Masters as she was the runner-up last year to World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying. She is the last Indian standing as both P.V Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth were defeated in their quarter-final matches by Carolina Marin and Jonatan Christie respectively.