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Saina Nehwal earns dominant win vs PV Sindhu, in Indonesia Open badminton semis

Saina Nehwal beat PV Sindhu in straight games to enter the women’s singles semi-finals of the Indonesia Open badminton tournament.

other sports Updated: Jan 26, 2018 16:28 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Saina Nehwal,PV Sindhu,Indonesia Open
Saina Nehwal defeated PV Sindhu in straight games to enter the semi-finals of the Indonesia Open badminton tournament on Friday.(PTI)

Saina Nehwal earned a dominant as well as a psychological victory against compatriot and higher ranked PV Sindhu to enter the women’s singles semi-finals of the $350,000 Indonesia Open badminton tournament, a Super 500 event of the Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) new World Tour. (Saina vs Sindhu highlights)

It took the unseeded Saina only 37 minutes to move past World No.3 Sindhu 21-13, 21-19 at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta to better her career record against the 2016 Rio Olympics silver medallist to 2-1. Though Saina and Sindhu have beaten each other several times in domestic events, this was World No.12 Saina’s first victory in official BWF meetings against Sindhu since December 2014.

Apart from Premier Badminton League (PBL) matches where the format is different, second seeded Sindhu had beaten Saina at the 2017 India Open in New Delhi only to lose in the final of the National Championships later in November.

READ | PV Sindhu, Viktor Axelsen named top seeds for 2018 India Open badminton

This was also their first meeting outside India and with the triumph Saina has moved into her first semi-final since the World Championships in August last year where she clinched a bronze.

However, in the semis, the 27-year-old Saina will take on former World Champion Ratchanok Intanon. The Thai fourth seed got the better of reigning World Champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan 21-17, 21-10 in 37 minutes earlier in the day.

But Saina will take confidence from the fact she has beaten two top Chinese players and PV Sindhu, a finalist of the last Olympics and World Championships, in the first three rounds. To add to it, Saina also has an 8-5 advantage in career meetings over Ratchanok and has not lost to the Thai girl since May 2016. In fact the Pullela Gopichand protege came out the winner in their last two meetings.

READ | Saina Nehwal to take on PV Sindhu in Indonesia Masters badminton quarterfinals

It was a dominant victory for Saina, who led from the start of the match. Sindhu closed the lead at 4-4 and 9-all but after that Saina pressed the accelerator to race away to 21-13.

Sindhu took a 10-5 lead in the second game but the unseeded Saina was really aggressive to win the next five points and close the gap. The momentum had shifted and Saina quickly reached matchpoint at 20-17. Sindhu saved two but it was too late by then.

Overall, Saina Nehwal won 42 of the 74 points played in the match.

First Published: Jan 26, 2018 15:00 IST