Saina Nehwal in China Open semifinals; Kashyap out
HYDERABAD: Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal recovered after losing the second game to beat Chinese qualifier Suo Di 21-13, 17-21, 21-5 in the quarterfinals of the China Open Super Series Premier in Fuzhou on Friday.
Saina’s former training partner Parupalli Kashyap went down fighting against Marc Zwiebler of Germany 2118, 18-21, 13-21 in the men’s singles quarterfinals.
Kashyap won the first game and looked good even in the second before the German seized control. In the decider, Kashyap looked out of sorts. Marc caused the biggest upset of the tournament by stunning world champion Chen Long on Thursday.
Fuzhou, which is hosting the China Open after a gap of 28 years, is proving to be waterloo for the hosts. Joining the list of high-profile exits was former world champion Wang Yihan. The Olympic silver medallist was China’s best hope after top seed Li Xuerui pulled out and second seed Shixian Wang crashed out in the second round.
On Friday, Yihan lost to Korea’s Bae Yeon Ju 21-18, 19-21, 19-21. Bae will face fast rising Japanese youngster Akane Yamaguchi in the semifinal on Saturday.
Yihan’s ouster and also the straight game loss of former world champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the quarterfinal makes Saina favourite for the title. The Indian ace, who had never won a major title on Chinese soil, will be keen to seize this golden chance.
She will face local girl Xin Liu in the semifinals on Saturday. Liu drubbed Intanon 21-15, 21-18 in the last-eight clash. Saina defeated the world No. 17 Chinese in their only meeting at the Swiss Open quarterfinals in 2012. Though Liu had won two titles this year, she may not pose much threat to Saina on Saturday.
Earlier, Saina was off to a good start against Suo and dominated the youngster in the first game. But the world No.179 made good use of the drift to trouble the Indian and take the second game. However, the change of courts helped Saina in the decider.
The Indian took an early lead and gave no chance to Suo. Saina will look forward to carry on the momentum into the semifinals.
Results (QFs): Men’s singles: Parupalli Kashyap lost to Marc Zwiebler (Ger) 18-21, 2118, 13-21; Women’s singles: Saina Nehwal bt Suo Di (Chn) 21-13, 17-21, 21-5.