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Saina brushes aside Tai Tzu Ying to march into Swiss Open semis

Saina Nehwal was at her imperious best as she brushed aside the challenge of sixth seed Tzu Ying Tai of Chinese Taipei to storm into the women’s singles semifinals of the 125,000 Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold Badminton Championship in Basel.

The Indian was quick off the blocks against her world number ten opponent displaying strong net play (she had as many as seven net winners) as well as robust play on both flanks.

File photo: Saina Nehwal

File photo: Saina Nehwal

The world number two at one stage reeled off five consecutive to gain the early upper hand in the opening game, not allowing Tai to hit the groove.

The sustained consistent play from Saina induced a slew of unforced errors from Tai as she struggled to stay competitive and remain in the contest. The Indian closed out the first game at 21-11 in just 13 minutes.

Tai needed to come out all guns blazing against Saina in the second game but all her strategies came a cropper as the Indian stayed ahead of her on points.

The Chinese Taipei shuttler did keep pace with Saina at the start of the second game with the scores tied 3-3. From there on, Saina raced ahead pocketing three points on the trot to gain a 6-3 lead.

The Hyderabad girl outplayed her opponent on the big points, undoing some of Tai’s good work. Saina won four straight points to rattle up a 13-9 lead as Tai found the going tough.

With Saina leading 16-10 the match seemed very much in their bag. Tai really to produce something out of the ordinary to keep her hopes alive but all her comeback came to nought as Saina bagged three points in a row to be at 20-11 before wrapping up the game at 21-12 in a contest that lasted 30 minutes.

The win was a sweet revenge for Saina as she had lost her last two matches against Tai – the most recent being the 2013 Malaysia Open where she lost to her in the semifinals in straight games.

Saina now enjoys a 5-2 head-to-head record against Tai.

Saina would now take on fourth seed and world number seven Wang Shixian of China in the semifinals.

Saina, only this week climbed to the number two spot behind China’s Li Xuerui in the World Badminton Federation rankings, pushing Wang Yihan to the third spot.

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