Saina in semifinals after beating Schenk
Shenzhen (China) - Saina Nehwal qualified for the semifinals of the BWF World Superseries Finals by beating Juliane Schenk of Germany today. Although the Indian had lost her two opening matches of Group B, she made the semifinals after Ratchanok Intanon defeated Tine Baun of Denmark. Baun and Saina were level with one win and two losses each, but the Indian progressed as she had lost fewer games. Saina will take on Olympic champion Li Xuerui in the semifinals.
Nehwal took just 38 minutes to quell Schenk’s challenge, 21-7 21-18. Schenk had won just three of her ten encounters against Saina going into Friday’s match. The Indian plays a style that troubles Schenk, and the first game was over in quick time. The second was brilliant in patches. Saina went ahead 6-2, but Schenk slowly fought her way back and from there it was as neck and neck. There were two brilliant rallies that showcased the skill, athleticism and tremendous retrieval abilities of the top women’s singles players – both threw themselves around, and even though Schenk seemed in control, Saina somehow managed the winning point.
The German staged a late fightback to go 18-16 ahead, but Saina suddenly upped her level and took the next five points in a row.
It was a happy day for China in the singles. Chen Long (China) beat Kenichi Tago (Japan) 21-15 14-21 21-15, Du Pengyu (China) beat Boonsak Ponsana (Thailand) 24-22 21-23 21-8, and Wang Shixian weathered the challenge from Japanese veteran Eriko Hirose 21-15 8-21 21-15.
Men’s Singles: Du Pengyu (Chn) vs Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (Den); Chen Long (Chn) vs Hu Yun (HK)
Women’s Singles: Li Xuerui (Chn) vs Saina Nehwal (Ind); Wang Shixian (Chn) vs Ratchanok Intanon (Tha)