Saina Nehwal produced a dominating performance to notch up a straight-game win over Hong Kong’s Yip Pui Yin to seal her place in the finals of the USD 120,000 Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold in Sarawak on Saturday.
London Olympics bronze medallist, Saina, who has been desperately looking for a win to boost her confidence after recovering from a knee surgery, which derailed her Rio Olympics campaign last year, thrashed fifth seed Yin 21-13 21-10 in a lop-sided semi-final clash.
The 26-year-old Indian, who clinched the Australian Open last year, will face Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong in the summit clash. The unheralded World No 67 Thai shuttler stunned World No 19 Cheung Ngan Yi, seeded second, 21-19 20-22 21-18 in another semi-final match that lasted an hour and 16 minutes.
Coming into the match, Saina enjoyed a 6-2 head-to-head record against Yin, who had last beaten the Indian at 2010 Asian Games. The Indian extended her record to seven wins after producing another scintillating performance.
The girl from Hyderabad had opened up a 4-1 lead early on but she lost control of the match after that as Yin erased the deficit and grabbed a 7-4 advantage at one stage.
Despite a fightback from Saina, she managed to hold on to a 12-9 lead but the Indian then changed gears and reeled off five straight points to first turn the tables and then amassed seven points on the trot to leave the Hong Kong player stranded.
In the second game, there was a marked difference between the two shuttlers as Saina simply walked away with the game without giving any chance to her rival. She opened up a 6-0 lead and then kept extending it to eventually shut the door on Yin comfortably.