Saina Nehwal played her heart out but lost to world number six Chen Wang of Hong Kong in an edge-of-the-seat semifinal of the World Super Series Masters Final in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
The world number 10 Indian used every trick from her arsenal but failed to match the experience of her third seed Hong Kong opponent and went down fighting 15-21 21-14 16-21 to bring down curtains in the prestigious tournament.
An attacking player, Wang rode on her smashes and better net play to wrest the first game as Saina huffed and puffed helplessly all across the court.
However, the 18-year-old Indian raised her game and rallied to pocket the second game 21-14.
The third game was a cliff-hanger as the two rivals fought tooth and nail. At one point, Wang opened up a four point lead but Saina narrowed down the gap pocketing two quick points.
Finally, however, it was the Hong Kong girl who had the last laugh as she sealed the match in 42 minutes.
Saina became the first Indian to reach the semifinals of the World Super Series Masters Finals yesterday when she beat Hongyan Pi of France in straight games and later edged out local favourite Mew Choo Wong in a thrilling contest on a single day.
The Beijing quarterfinalist will next play in the Malaysian Super Series and the Korean Super Series in January next year.