There's simply no stopping Saina Nehwal as the fourth-seeded player stormed into the semi-finals of the Orleans Masters 2021. The former World No. 1 slew her American opponent, Iris Wang, in a tense encounter, 21-19, 17-21, 21-19.
Meanwhile, for top seed Kidambi Srikanth, the journey at the Orleans Masters 2021 came to an abrupt end. An inspired Toma Junior Popov took on Srikanth in the quarter-finals only to hand the Indian a blistering straight-game defeat, 21-19, 21-17.
Meanwhile, the Indians put up a good showing in the doubles category as well, notching a string of delightful wins and keeping title hopes for India alive at this BWF Super 100 tournament.
Orleans Masters 2021 marks the first semi-final for Saina Nehwal in two years
For Saina Nehwal, who has been struggling with her form for the last few years, a pleasant change seems to be around the corner. Having been injury-laden of late, Saina Nehwal is slowly but steadily scripting another comeback as she stormed into her first semi-final in two years.
Her last semi-final appearance was at the Indonesia Masters 500 tournament in 2019, which she eventually won.
Hungry for collecting precious points to qualify for the Olympics, the Hisar-born girl showed grit and strength as she took on the spirited American, Iris Wang. The match got pretty close during certain key moments.
But Saina Nehwal was able to salvage the situation with her experience as she won 21-19, 17-21, 21-19 to enter the semis.
Meanwhile, Ira Sharma's golden run at the Orleans Masters 2021 also drew to an end with the young talent being unable to prove herself against Denmark's Line Christophersen. Ira Sharma lost the match comprehensively, exiting the tournament, 21-11, 21-8.
Kidambi Srikanth crashes out of Orleans Masters 2021
Needing only a matter of 41 minutes, Frenchman Toma Junior Popov dispatched top seed Kidambi Srikanth in the quarter-finals of the Orleans Masters 2021.
Enjoying good form currently, the young Popov dominated the match from the get-go, while Srikanth looked a tad bit spent from back-to-back tournaments and matches.
The former World No. 1 could barely put up any fight as Popov seemed to race away to victory. Soon enough, Swiss Open semi-finalist Srikanth was sent packing from the Orleans Masters 2021, losing to Popov 19-21, 17-21.
Hopes still alive in doubles at Orleans Masters 2021
While Saina Nehwal remains the only Indian shuttler in the singles category, the campaign for the doubles players is still alive and kicking at the Orleans Masters 2021.
In the men's doubles, the duo of Krishna Prasad Garaga-Vishnu Vardhan Goud Panjala continued their winning run as they ousted the all-French pair of Christo Popov-Toma Junior Popov, 21-17, 10-21, 22-20, in 63 minutes.
However, the MR Arjun-Dhruv Kapila combine failed to proceed into the semis, losing 21-19, 18-21, 23-21 to all-British pair Callum Hemming-Steven Stallwood.
In the women's doubles, eighth-seeded Indian duo Ashwini Ponnappa-N Sikki Reddy stayed in cruise control as they breezed into the semis, 21-14, 21-18, defeating third-seeded pair Chloe Birch-Lauren Smith.
Finally, in the mixed doubles category as well, Dhruv Kapila-Ashwini Ponnappa registered an easy win over an all-English duo of Max Flynn-Jessica Pugh in just 29 minutes. The Indian pair won the match 21-13, 21-18 and booked themselves a spot in the semi-finals.