Saina Nehwal in Australian Super Series semis; Sindhu bows out
Saina Nehwal reached the women’s singles semifinals with a comfortable straight-game win, but compatriot P.V. Sindhu failed to cross the quarterfinal hurdle in the $7,50,000 Star Australian Super Series, in Sydney on Friday.
While Sindhu, seeded eighth, lost 17-21, 17-21 against Carolina Marin of Spain, sixth-seeded Saina got the better of Eriko Hirose of Japan, winning 21-18, 21-9 in 47 minutes.
Saina got off to a fine start against her Japanese opponent, as she straight away opened up a 4-0 lead and quickly widened the gap to 8-2. But Hirose fought her way back to make it 10-10.
Although she always held an upper hand and maintained a slender lead, Hirose once again came from behind to make it 18-18.
But the world no. 8 held on and was quick to take the next three points to wrap the opening game.
A dominant display in the second game by Saina left the Japanese girl gasping for breath. And the only time Hirose even came close to the shuttler from Hyderabad was at 2-3.
Saina will face Shixian Wang in the semifinals. The Indian enjoys a 4-3 record against the world no. 2 — a two-time All England champion — although Wang has won in their last two encounters.
Sindhu crashes out
Sindhu, world no. 10, fought her heart out for 47 minutes but could not overcome the challenge posed by the 11-ranked Carolina.
Opening game was a closely fought affair with the two shuttlers exchanging the lead time and again. The game kept oscillating till it was tied at 17-17.
At this stage, the Spaniard broke off and reeled four consecutive points to seal the first game 21-17.
Sindhu tried hard to make a comeback in the second game, and put up a good fight. But it lasted only till 7-7. The Spaniard bagged a couple of points to surge ahead and then capitalised on the advantage to maintain a slight edge. At 20-15, when Carolina was serving for the match, Sindhu managed to save two match points, but eventually went down to crash out of the competition.