Korea Open 2018: Saina Nehwal goes down fighting to Okuhara in quarterfinals
- Nehwal held four match points but couldn't convert any of them.
The Indian challenge ended as Saina Nehwal went down fighting to Japanese Nozomi Okuhara in the quarterfinals of the Super 500 tournament played at SK Olympic Handball Gymnasium, Seoul on Friday. It was a good game of badminton with Nehwal winning the first game, Okuhara coming back strongly to win the 2nd and the Japanese showing her class to win the third game.
The first game started with Okuhara taking a 3-0 lead before Saina levelled the scores at 3-3. Both players won alternate points till the score read 9-9. The Indian held her nerve to take an 11-9 lead at the interval. After the interval, Saina played aggressive badminton and forced Okuhara to commit mistakes, winning the first set 21-15.
In the second game, the Japanese made a positive start, taking a 4-2 lead. Saina Nehwal fought back strongly to level the score at 6-6 and then lead 8-7. Okuhara played aggressive badminton and took a narrow 11-9 lead into the interval. After the interval, the Japanese continued her domination with drop shots, placements and smashes, winning the second set 21-15 to force the match into a decider.
In the deciding game, Saina Nehwal got off to a good start with great strokes, putting pressure on the Japanese player. At the interval, the Indian led 11-8. After the interval, Okuhara reduced the gap to 10-13. The Indian then played aggressive badminton to lead 16-11. She had four match points at 20-16 but Okuhara made a strong comeback to save them all and level the scores at 20-20. The Japanese showed great character to win the third set 22-20.
Saina committed a lot of mistakes in the last few points of the third set. Okuhara played with aggression and made life tough for the Indian. With this loss, the Indian challenge ended in the Korea Open 2018.Published 28 Sep 2018, 18:33 IST