World Badminton highlights: Saina Nehwal loses in semis to Nozomi Okuhara
Saina Nehwal failed to book a place in the women’s singles final of the World Badminton Championships for a second straight time after losing 21-12, 17-21, 10-21 to Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara in the semi-finals in Glasgow on Saturday. Having defeated Scottish shuttler Kirsty Gilmour 21-19, 18-21, 21-15 in a thrilling quarterfinal clash on Friday, Saina was only one step away from booking a place in Sunday’s title clash. PV Sindhu will take on China’s Chen Yufei in the other semi-final later in the day. Get highlights of Saina Nehwal vs Nozomi Okuhara , World Badminton Championships semi-final, here.
19:25 hrs IST: Hope that you enjoyed our coverage. PV Sindhu will play in the other semi-final later in the day. Keep following us for updates. Thank you
19:20 hrs IST: Saina has to settle for a bronze medal here but that too is a great achievement, considering the injuries that have hampered her career. Since her comeback she really has not been the old Saina but showed glimpses of her prime today
19:18 hrs IST: The hopes of an all-India final have been dashed with Saina’s loss
19:15 hrs IST:Saina saved a matchpoint but lost on the next one to lose the third game 10-21
19:12 hrs IST: Gamepoint for the Japanese
19:11 hrs IST: Nozomi is two points away from victory
19:09 hrs IST: Saina’s shots have lost all the sting
19:08 hrs IST: Saina is totally being outplayed here
19:06 hrs IST: Okuhara has suddenly found a lot of energy. She leads 14-7
19:03 hrs IST: This match is completely heading for a Nozomi victory
19:01 hrs IST: Saina now trails 3-10. This will take a special effort from her
19:00 hrs IST: Wow! Six straight points for Nozomi
18:58 hrs IST: Saina now trailing 3-7 in the decider. If she does not stop Nozomi now, it will be too late for the Indian
18:56 hrs IST: Four straight points for Nozomi
18:53 hrs IST: Okuhara 1-3 down and looks frustrated
18:51 hrs IST: Saina will try to up the ante now as it is now or never
18:50 hrs IST: The deciding game starts now!
18:48 hrs IST: This match has entered the decider as Saina lost the second game 17-21
18:47 hrs IST: Three straight points for the Japanese
18:46 hrs IST: That was an easy point given away by Saina and she trails 17-18
18:43 hrs IST: Saina levels it at 15-15. She certainly does not want a third game
18:40 hrs IST: A lovely overhead smash from Saina, out of reach of Nozomi
18:39 hrs IST: And Nozomi leads 11-10 at the break
18:38 hrs IST: Saina has levelled it at 10-all!
18:37 hrs IST: Exquisite sliced smash from the Indian there
18:34 hrs IST: However, the gap is not big and can be closed
18:32 hrs IST: Saina has fought back strongly here and is 7-9 behind in the second game
18:28 hrs IST: Saina has finally won a couple of points
18:26 hrs IST: Saina is down 0-4 in the second game
18:24 hrs IST: The Indian is a step closer to the finals!
18:22 hrs IST: Saina wins the first game 21-12!
18:20 hrs IST: Gamepoint for Saina!
18:17 hrs IST: But it will take a special performance from her to close the gap as Saina is running away right now
18:16 hrs IST: Nozomi is trying to fight back here!
18:15 hrs IST: Saina won five straight points here
18:14 hrs IST: Saina is now leading 15-6!
18:12 hrs IST: Many Indians at the Emirates Arena and they are cheering quite enthusiastically for Saina
18:10 hrs IST: And Saina leads 11-6 at the break! Superb play so far from the Indian
18:09 hrs IST: Coach U Vimal Kumar is very happy!
18:08 hrs IST: Saina is totally dominating play here
18:06 hrs IST: Saina is totally running over her opponent right now! Brilliant badminton
18:04 hrs IST: Saina is slowly building a healthy lead, currently ahead 6-2
18:02 hrs IST: The girls are making their wrists work! Brilliant game
18:01 hrs IST: And it begins!
18:00 hrs IST: The girls have arrived on court!
17:58 hrs IST: The only time the Japanese has beaten Saina was way back in 2015 December at the World Superseries Finals in Dubai
17:53 hrs IST: It is time for the Saina vs Nozomi match!
17:46 hrs IST: The 2 players have played only once this year -- at the All England Open where Saina won in straight games
17:40 hrs IST: The Indian has a 6-1 record against the Japanese!
17:30 hrs IST: Saina will take on 2016 Rio Olympics medallist Nozomi Okuhara in the semis
17:00 hrs IST: Saina Nehwal’s women singles semi-final will begin in a few minutes
16:30 hrs IST: Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the World Badminton Championships. There has been an upset in the first match of the day. Men’s third seed Viktor Axelsen has knocked out defending champion Chen Long, beating him 21-9, 21-10. That scoreline will shock many across the world.
Seventh 12th in the tournament, Saina has previously faced the seventh seeded Okuhara on seven occasions, winning on six of those matches. Her only loss to Okuhara came in 2015 at the Dubai World Superseries Finals.
However, with Okuhara displaying superb touch in recent weeks, Saina will have her task cut out today. The Indian shuttler has now recovered from the knee injury she suffered at the Rio Olympics last year, but with a gruelling set of matches behind her, it remains to be seen whether Saina has been able to regain the sort of fitness necessary for matces at this level.
Saina had lost the final of the world championships to Carolina Marin in 2015, and she will aim to bury the memories of the final from two years back by going one step better this time.