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Saina Nehwal enters All England semifinals

BADMINTON-GBR-CHN-IND-WANG-NEHWAL

Saina Nehwal reached the semifinals of All England Open for the 2nd time after 2010.

The incredible defence of Saina Nehwal won her a semifinal place in the All England Open as she won a tense three-game semifinal against Wang Shixian of China.

Saina’s compatriot Parupalli Kashyap, however, fell to second seeded Chinese Chen Long 21-16 21-10 in the men’s singles quarterfinals. Kashyap had won their last encounter, but Chen Long was too good for the Indian on Friday.

Saina retrieved seemingly impossible shots to constantly frustrate Shixian, who at times screamed in frustration as the shuttle kept coming back. The Indian eventually pulled off a 23-21 19-21 21-16 win to enter the semifinals of the All England for the second time after 2010.

The match had bits of everything – great variety from Shixian, dogged defence from Saina, and some erratic play as well. The match began on level terms, with each player matching the other shot for shot. Wang had game point at 20-19 in the first, but Saina played a clever delayed shot at the net, and went on to take the lead.

The Indian fell behind in the second game as Wang went on the attack, but the lead again fluctuated as both Saina and Wang had erratic spells. The crucial point came when Saina misjudged a toss that fell on the baseline, and Wang took the second game.

The match had fallen into a pattern – Wang had the greater variety and steeper shots, but Saina showed incredible athleticism by retrieving everything and forcing the Chinese to play the extra shot. The unceasing pressure of Saina’s defensive game eventually wore out Wang, and she kept playing more acute angles to keep the shuttle away from the Indian. The errors mounted, and Saina slowly but surely established a winning lead. The final point was won when Wang smashed into the net, and Saina let out a scream.

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