Saina's bronze hunt on, ready to take on world No. 2 Xin Wang today | india | Hindustan Times
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Saina's bronze hunt on, ready to take on world No. 2 Xin Wang today

india Updated: Aug 04, 2012 17:19 IST

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India's ace shuttler Saina Nehwal is gearing up to compete in the bronze medal play-off on Saturday.

World No. 5 Saina, the first Indian to reach the semi-finals of the Olympics in the shuttle game, can win the bronze if she outsmarts world No. 2 Xin Wang, who was defeated by compatriot Li Xuerui in a closely fought second semi-final 22-20, 21-18, in the play-off.

Earlier on Friday, the 22-year-old Indian won 13 points each in the two games that she lost to the Chinese top seed in the 42-minute match at the Wembley Arena, much to the disappointment of the Indian supporters who outshouted their Chinese counterparts, and later conceded that her opponent was "too fast" for her.

Up against top seeded Chinese Wang Yihan, Saina committed too many unforced errors to see her dreams of winning a gold medal crashing after slumping to a 13-21 13-21 defeat in the semifinal tie which lasted for 42 minutes at the Wembley Arena in London.

There was very little margin for error for Saina as Yihan was sharper, more accurate and also used her powerful smashes to outwit the Indian.

Although Saina tried to come back with the help of some brilliant net play, the Chinese employed some immaculate placements and powerful smashes to lead 1-0. In the second game, Saina tried to match her superior rival and did trouble her to enjoy a one-point lead at the break. But the Chinese world champion soon started forcing Saina to commit errors and moved ahead.

Yihan anticipated the shots and was better prepared and, with Saina hitting wide and long, the Chinese had no problem in cementing her place in the finals.

This was Yihan's sixth victory over Saina in as many encounters.