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Back in form! Saina storms into Malaysia Masters final

January 21, 2017 20:01 IST

Saina Nehwal

IMAGE: Saina Nehwal in action. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

India's Saina Nehwal produced a dominating performance to notch up a straight-game victory over Hong Kong's Yip Pui Yin and storm into the final of the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold, on Saturday.

London Olympics bronze medallist, Saina, who has been desperately looking for a win to boost her confidence after recovering from a knee surgery, which derailed her Rio Olympics campaign last year, thrashed fifth seed Yin 21-13, 21-10 in a lop-sided semi-final clash in Sarawak.

The 26-year-old Indian, who clinched the Australian Open last year, will face Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong in the title clash.

The unheralded World No 67 Thai shuttler stunned World No 19 Cheung Ngan Yi, seeded second, 21-19, 20-22, 21-18 in another semi-final match that lasted an hour and 16 minutes.

Coming into the match, Saina enjoyed a 6-2 head-to-head record against Yin, who had last beaten the Indian at 2010 Asian Games. The Indian extended her record to seven wins after producing another scintillating performance.

The Hyderabadi ace opened up a 4-1 lead early on but she lost control of the match after that as Yin erased the deficit and grabbed a 7-4 advantage at one stage.

Despite a fightback from Saina, she managed to hold on to a 12-9 lead but the Indian then changed gears and reeled off five straight points to first turn the tables and then amassed seven points on the trot to leave the Hong Kong player stranded.

In the second game, there was a marked difference between the two shuttlers as Saina simply walked away with the game without giving any chance to her rival. She opened up a 6-0 lead and then kept extending it to eventually shut the door on Yin comfortably.

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