Saina Nehwal crashes out in semifinals of World Super Series
Saina was off to a breezy start in the first game, winning the first 5 points of the match. The World No.3 Indian shuttler kept a steady lead throughout the game, leading Li 17-13 and then had four game points at 20-16. Li however came back firing to tie the game at 20-20 and eventually snatched the game away from Saina 20-22 after the Indian was overwhelmed by the Chinese onslaught.
The second game began with Saina getting off on the front foot again, taking the first six points. The Chinese seemed flustered as Saina seemed to be in complete control. Li lacked any ferocity and Saina soon grew a 10 point lead in the second game at 11-1. The Indian finally brought down the curtains on the second game, conceding only 7 points to the Chinese.
The final game got off to a tight start with neither player giving an inch to the opponent, keeping the score tied till 10-10. However, the top seed’s game plan to conserve her energy in the second game soon weighed in her favour as the Indian lass ran out of steam, hitting too many unforced errors. Li Xuerui closed out the match, winning 11 of the last 14 points to kill the Indian hopes in the tournament.
The tournament wasn’t a memorable one for the Hyderabadi as she reached semifinals with only one win in the group stage.
However, 2012 will be remembered as a golden year for badminton in India as Saina fulfilled her dream of an Olympic medal and her great run at other tournaments certainly bodes well for future successes.