Veteran Baun surprises Saina in World Superseries Finals
Shenzhen (China): Saina Nehwal began her campaign at the BWF World Superseries Finals with a disappointing loss to Denmark’s Tine Baun in Group B on Wednesday.
This was Saina’s first loss to the No.6 in six matches. The last time Saina lost to Baun was at last year’s Hong Kong Open. Baun improved the head-to-head record to 4-5. Saina will next play Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon.
The biggest news of the day however, was the withdrawal of world No.1 Lee Chong Wei from the competition. Chong Wei lost a thriller in his opening round match to China’s Du Pengyu, 12-21 21-16 22-20, and then announced that he had picked up an injury and would be unable to participate for the rest of the tournament. The tournament has already suffered from the withdrawal of Korean doubles teams in the Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles due to injury of Jang Ye Na. Another Korean pair, Kim Ki Jung/Kim Sa Rang, retired during their match against two-time champions Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen (Denmark) 21-17 17-9.
Another big upset was that of Olympic mixed doubles champions Zhang Nan/Zhao Yunlei 21-12 23-21 by Joachim Fischer/Christinna Pedersen, while second seed Juliane Schenk continued to have problems with Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon as she fell 21-17 22-20.
Saina won the first set of her match comfortably at 21-14, but Baun came back strongly to tie the match at a set apiece. Her momentum continued unabated as she established big leads of 9-4 and 14-8. Even though Saina fought back to come within a point of her, at 13-14, Baun took the next four points and effectively ended the contest.
Olympic champion Li Xuerui, in Group A, was severely tested by her compatriot Wang Shixian, but managed to come through 21-19 15-21 21-18.