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Saina bows out of World Championships

Last updated on: August 14, 2009 23:45 IST

Curtains were drawn on India's campaign at the World Badminton Championship following defeats of Saina Nehwal and mixed doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and V Diju in Hyderabad on Friday.

Saina squandered a healthy 9-1 lead in the second game to lose the singles quarterfinal 16-21 19-21 to Chinese second seed Lin Wang a 39-minute contest.

Sania had defeated Lin in June to lift the Indonesian Super Series title.

Lin Wang"She (Lin) was better prepared today. She was defending well. I made a few silly mistakes but I am happy with my performance. She played better at net and involved in more tabs and pushes which shows she was prepared," Saina said.

"I reached the pre-quarters in 2007 and this time I have reached quarters and I have beaten the top 10 players so I'm satisfied," she added.

Her coach Pullela Gopichand also lauded Saina's effort considering that she came to the event after a bout with chicken pox.

"Saina played well, may be could have played better but I feel she played with rhythm. Recovering from a chicken pox and playing so well, I couldn't have aske dfor any thing better," Gopichand said.

Earlier, in the mixed doubles event, Jwala-Diju proved no match to defending champions and second seed Indonesian combo of Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir and lost their last-eight stage match 6-21 14-21 in just 27 minutes.

Saina had a rusty start as she allowed Lin to open up a seven point lead and even though the Hyderabadi drew parity with a power-puffed smash at 11-11, she couldn't keep the momentum.

The world number six took a different approach in the next game and engaged her opponent in long rallies and got to a handsome 9-1 but the Chinese was better prepared and reeled off eight straight points to claw her way back to the game and wrapped up the match in her favour.

In a day marked by a series of upsets, men's top seed Lee Chong Wei and women's top seed Zhou Mi of Hong Kong also crashed out of the elite event.

World number one Lee failed to live upto the expectation as Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro produced the biggest upset of the tournament, dispatching the Malaysian 21-16 14-21 21-12 in the quarterfinals.

"I just couldn't play well today. I had pulled things back in the second game but I don't know what happened in the third game," Lee said.

"Sony is no ordinary player, he has beaten me before and he raised the bar today. I wasn't under any pressure nor I had any problem with the conditions," he added.

Sony, on the other hand, said he was not afraid of attacking whenever he got a chance, which paid dividends at the end.

In the women's singles, fifth seed Chinese Xingfang Xie sent world number one Zhou Mi of Hong Kong packing with a straight-game victory.

Xingfang, who won the World Championships in 2005 and 2006 besides a silver medal in Beijing Olympics, outplayed the her top seed opponent 21-15 21-18 in a 47-minute match.

"It was a very close match even though the scoreline might suggest otherwise. I was more patient then Zhou especially in the second game. When we both were 18-all, I held my nerves and didn't commit any mistake," said Xingfang after the match.

The 2003 World Championship semifinalist, Zhou Mi had retired from badminton in 2005. She did not play any tournaments in 2006 and moved to Hong Kong from China before re-emerging during in 2007.

Xingfang next faces eighth seed Hongyan Pi of France in the semifinals tomorrow.

Hongyan reached the first semifinal of her career in a world championship today after she beat Juliane Schenk 15-21 21-15 21-19 in another quarterfinal.

Seventh seed Lan Lu stunned third seed Tine Rasmussen 21-15 21-13 in just over an half an hour match.

In another the men's singles quarterfinals, Indonesia's Taufik Hidayat survived a scare from Dane Jan O Jorgensen and beat him 21-19 21-19 in a 42-minute clash, while second seed Chinese Jin Chen beat 13th seed Simon Santoso of Indonesia 21-10 21-13 in 43 minutes.

Fifth seed and defending champion Chinese Dan Lin also staved off the challenge from third seed Peter Hoeg Gade 22-20 21-16 in 49-minute match.

Photograph: Reuters