World No. 3 Saina Nehwal came a step closer to retaining the Indonesia Open Super Series title after defeating Russia’s Ella Diehl 17-21, 21-11, 21-16 in the quarterfinals, in Jakarta, on Friday.
The top seed had earlier met Diehl in the second round of the Singapore Super Series where she defeated the Russian in straight games. Saina took 59 minutes to beat the eight seed.
The Indian stuck to her strategy of engaging her opponents in long rallies and out of 107 rallies, she outwitted Diehl on 59 occassions. The opening game was a close affair and Saina failed to pull it through and lost the first game. In the second game, the ace shuttler clawed her way back to outwit Diehl.
Winning 21 rallies out of the total 32 and hitting six smashes as opposed to three of the Russian, Saina got back in rhythm. In the third game, the top seed hit off with a straight six-point lead and quelled a late challenge from Diehl to wrap up the proceedings.
Earlier, taking a giant leap towards realising her aim of becoming the World No. 1, Saina shot up three places to World No 3 in the rankings released by the Badminton World Federation on Thursday.