Saina Nehwal is just a step away from successfully defending the Indonesia Open title. On Saturday, she beat Cheng Shao Chieh, her opponent from Chinese Taipei, to make it to the final of the Super Series premier event in Jakarta.
Saina, a two-time winner here, beat Chieh 21-14, 14-21, 21-17 and now faces former all England champion Wang Yihan of China in the final.
Saina, who won here in 2009 and 2010, seems to have peaked at the right time. Things hadn't been going her way over the last three-four months.
The world no. 4 Indian, who lost to Chieh in the Singapore Open last week, had no trouble in the first game, where she led from start to finish.
"To avoid the draft influencing her in the third game, Saina took a good lead in the beginning," said her coach Pullela Gopi Chand.
"Fortunately, she continued to win points even after changing sides (after she won her 11th point in the third game) and that kept her going."
Saina will be playing her third final this year. She had earlier won the Swiss Open Grand Prix but missed the Malaysia Open Grand Prix gold, which is the only blemish on her record in finals. Yihan is currently ranked third, but Saina insists, "All players in the top-10 bracket play at the same level."
So, it is just a matter of whose day it is.
Lee, Gade in final
It's not just Saina who is gunning for a third successive title here. In men's singles, world no. 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia will take on Peter Gade of Denmark in the final for a hat-trick of titles in Jakarta.
World No. 5 Gade defeated Japan's Sho Sasaki 21-11, 21-14 while Lee beat China's rising talent Chen Long 21-17, 21-18.