After creating waves by reaching the women's singles final of the BWF World Super Series Finals on Saturday, India's badminton ace Saina Nehwal went down fighting to reigning world No 1, China’s Yihan Wang, in Liuzhou, China on Sunday.
The Hyderabad shuttler's marathon match, which lasted an hour and 12 minutes, finally went in favour of the Chinese 18-21, 21-13, 21-13.
Saina, who has never beaten Yihan in their three previous meetings, looked in superb form as she led from the start in the first game with some stunning smashes and deft drops to clinch the game 21-18.
Saina started the second game well and showed flashes of brilliance with her agile picks, levelling the scores at 11-all. But from thereon, the Indian could win only two points, while Yihan raced away to bag the game 21-13 and level the match.
The third game was a one-sided affair from the start as the world champion looked in full control and took a 17-8 lead.
Saina attempted a comeback by narrowing the score-line to 18-13. However, Yihan was too good for Saina and took the game 21-13.
Jwala Gutta and V Diju are the only other Indians to have achieved this feat previously, reaching the mixed doubles final of the World Super Series Finals in 2009.