Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal entered her first semi-final of the new season, scoring a hard-fought victory over Tine Baun of Denmark at the Malaysian Super Series in Kuala Lumpur, on Friday.
The world No 4 Indian had to toil before prevailing over two-time All England champion Tine 21-13, 21-23, 21-13 in a women singles quarter-final that lasted a little less than an hour.
The 21-year-old got her smashes right even as she repeatedly scored with fine dribbles at the net.
Saina opened up a narrow lead in the first game after 5-5, but Tine kept breathing down her neck till 9-10 before the Indian reeled off straight points to widen the gap and take the game.
In the second game, Tine raced to a three-point lead, but six straight points enabled Saina forge ahead at 14-10.
However, the Dane caught up at 15-15 and held on to level the match scores.
In the decider, Tine again opened up a two-point lead early, but Saina fought back to forge ahead 9-7. She maintained the pressure as Tine's game crumbled to emerge triumphant.
In Saturday's semi-finals, Saina will take on the winner of the other quarter-final between top seed and world No 1 Yihan Wang and Xuerui Li, both of China.