Beating a two-time All-England champion is never easy but to do so twice within 30 days' time, is highly impressive. After Saina Nehwal beat Denmark's Tine Baun in the BWF Super Series semifinals at Liu Zhou (China) in December, the world No. 4 Indian accomplished the feat once again in the quarterfinals of the Malaysian Super Series in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
The 21-year-old fought long and hard to advance to the last-four stage with a 21-13, 21-23, 21-13, in just under an hour to make her first semifinals of the season. "It's a matter of pride to beat the All-England winner twice within 30 days," Saina told HT from Kuala Lumpur. "My strategy was to win both sets but she (Tine) was not yielding. In the second, her shots were more accurate."
After the first set loss, Tine refused to let Saina have it easy. Trailing 10-14, the Dane tightened her game and caught up with the Indian at 15-15. After the P Gopi Chand-ward threw away a match point at 21-20, Tine wrapped up the second set with three consecutive points.
From the start in the decider, Saina kept the pressure on Tine to run away with the win.
"After her win in the second, I saw that Tine was tired. I kept her away from the net in the decider, it became easy for me as my shots were more accurate," Saina added.
She plays the reigning world champion Yihan Wang of China in the semifinals, against whom her record stands 0-4.