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Saina storms into World Super Series semis

india Updated: Dec 19, 2008 21:20 IST

Saina Nehwal shrugged off her opening match disappointment to become the first Indian shuttler to reach the semi-finals of the World Super Series Masters Finals when she defeated Mew Choo Wong of Malaysia in the group league stage, in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

Saina defeated Wong 21-10, 17-21, 21-16 to claim her second successive win that catapulted her to the last four stage.

Following her loss to Tine Rasmussen in the first game, Saina had to win both her quarter-final league matches and she did just that.

After brushing past Hongyan Pi of France 21-18, 21-13 in the day's first encounter, the world No. 10 Indian had to battle hard before edging past Wong in the evening match.

Faced with a must-win situation, a gritty Saina rode on her powerful smashes and opened up a nine-point lead at 13-4 in the first game as her Malaysian counterpart could not match up to her.

The world No. 11 Malaysian tried to level scores but could not get past Saina who held on to her lead and won the game 21-10.

However, Saina lost concentration in the next game and allowed her rival to open a four-point lead at 9-13.

Saina rallied to level the score but was soon staring at defeat as the game progressed. She ultimately conceded the second game 17-21 and allowed the Malaysian to bounce back.

The decider was a cliffhanger as both fought tooth and nail before Saina took a slight advantage with the score reading 13-10 in her favour.

Thereafter she didn't gave Wong much chance and wrapped up the match in 48 minutes.

Earlier, Saina hammered fourth-seed Pi of France in a 34-minute contest to keep her semi-final hopes alive.

The 18-year-old national champion rallied well to leave her opponent, ranked three notches above her, huffing and puffing all over the court and indulged in some sharp smashes to gallop her way to the first set at 21-18.

In the next game, Hongyan displayed some powerful strokes and matched Saina's smashes well but the Indian ace was not in a mood to give an inch. She played close to the nets and raced away with the game 21-13.