Saina storms into semis

Defending champion Saina Nehwal overcame an opening game deficit to beat Ella Diehl of Russia 17-21, 21-11, 21-16 to reach the Indonesian Open semifinal on Friday.

Saina, who on Thursday jumped three places to World No. 3 after winning the Singapore Super Series, looked a bit rusty against Ella Diehl of Russia in the first game. The Indian was doing the catch up job from the start before losing it 17-21.

The top seeded, however, shrugged off the initial rustiness and stamped her authority over her opponent in the next two games thanks to her superb smashes and long rallies.

Saina and the eight seeded Russian were neck-and-neck at 5-4 before the Indian raised her game in the second to win it 21-11.

In the decider, Saina took a straightaway 6-0 lead. Though the Russian reduced the gap 13-10, the Indian ran away with the game 21-16 and the match in 58 minutes.

In Saturday’s semifinal, Saina will meet fourth seeded Eriko Hirose of Japan who beat fifth seeded Jie Yao of the Netherlands 21-19, 10-21, 22-20.

Saina is the only Indian left as compatriot Aditi Mutatkar had crashed out in the first round. In the men’s section, Ajay Jayaram, Chetan Anand, Parupalli Kashyap and Gurusaidatt RM Venkata are already out of the tournament.(PTI)

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