Saina Nehwal’s semi-final jinx continued as she suffered another defeat against her nemesis Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in women’s singles, bringing an end to the Indian challenge at the Malaysia Super Series Premier on Saturday.
Olympic bronze medallist Saina, who has lost to the World No 9 Tai Tzu seven times in 12 meetings, including an All England quarterfinal loss last month, once again failed to find a way to outmanoeuvre the Chinese Taipei girl, going down 19-21, 13-21.
This was Saina’s third successive loss in the semi-finals after the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold and India Super Series. The World No 8 Indian will next play at the Singapore Open starting from April 12.
Tai Tzu came up with a deceptive game and engaged Saina in some fierce, fast-paced rallies. The Indian, who recently recovered from a nagging ankle injury, was erratic and wasn’t consistent enough to close out the rallies.
Playing against an opponent who has always troubled her, Saina once again trailed 0-7 and then 6-13 after the break. The Indian did gather some points with her acute angled returns but Tai Tzu was always a step ahead. Saina also committed too many unforced errors.
Failure to return a powerful smash from Tai Tzu gave the Chinese Taipei girl six game points at 20-14. However, Saina didn’t give up the fight and saved as many as five game points with Tai Tzu hitting wide and long. In the end, it was a delectable drop after an engrossing rally which caught the Indian off guard at the forecourt and gave the Tai Tzu the opening game.
The second game started on an even keel as both shuttlers moved to 6-6 before Tai Tzu opened up a 11-9 lead at the interval. At 10-13, Tai Tzu challenged a line call and the chair umpire ended up giving her two points, which took some time to be sorted.
Saina hit a fine smash after that but Tai Tzu continued to dominate. A few errors in line judgement from Saina saw her concede points. The Chinese Taipei girl moved to a 19-13 lead with a midcourt smash and with Saina hitting long, it was seven match points for Tai Tzu and she sealed it when Saina hit long again.