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Rediff.com  » Sports » Saina exits, Jwala-Ashiwni in semi-finals

Saina exits, Jwala-Ashiwni in semi-finals

Last updated on: August 12, 2011 21:00 IST

Saina Nehwal's quarter-final jinx at the World Badminton Championships continued, as the ace Indian shuttler suffered a straight-games defeat to world No 3 Wang Xin and bowed out of the women's singles at Wembley Arena, London, on Friday.

The world No 6, who reached the quarter-finals of the tournament in the last two editions too, was beaten 15-21, 10-21 in 30 minutes.

The day, however, belonged to Jwala Gutta and Ashiwni Ponnappa. The Commonwealth Games gold medallist pair registered a gritty 17-21, 21-10, 21-17 upset victory over 12th seeds Vita Marissa and Nadya Melati of Indonesia in a 47-minute duel.

In the process, they scripted history, becoming India's first-ever women's doubles pair to make it to the semi-finals of the World Championships.

The world No 21 pair will face fifth seeds Qing Tian and Yunlei Zhao of China, who beat fourth seeds Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa of Japan 21-16, 21-10 in another quarter-final match.

The 21-year-old Saina struggled with her strokes and committed too many unforced errors, handing the match to the former world No 1 Chinese.

Playing with the breeze in the first game, Saina kept the shuttle up on her serve and took a 4-2 lead, but Xin caught up and drew parity before breaking away at 9-9.

Saina faltered with her baseline strokes and also failed to negotiate the sharp shots the Chinese hurled at her, as Xin registered five straight points to move to 14-9, before taking the first game.

The second started off with long rallies, but Xin soon started attacking as Saina panicked and ended up surrendering a 4-10 lead.

Even though coach Pullela Gopichand tried to motivate Saina, the gulf could not be bridged, as Xin controlled the game, anticipating the shots from the Indian well.

Two unforced errors from Xin helped Saina gain a couple of odd points, but that was all she could do. The Chinese hardly did anything wrong as she proceeded to seal the game and match.

Saina had lost to Xin thrice before but defeated the Chinese in the Sudirman Cup in May.

Top seed Wei cruises

Meanwhile, top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia swiftly ended the astonishing run of Guatemala's Kevin Cordon on Friday, dispatching him 21-7 21-13 in 25 minutes in the quarter-finals.

Cordon had beaten China's fifth seed Chen Long in a big opening round upset, the first victory on his way to a meeting with the world number one.

The 24-year-old took a 3-0 lead but it was to be a false dawn and Chong Wei, at the top of his game at this tournament, swept into the semis.

Cordon, world-ranked 34, has been training in Spain since March. He told reporters: "Yesterday I played for 71 minutes and it was a very hard game and I was tired after three full matches this week.

"But I lost to the best player in the world and he's quite difficult to play against.

"Most of the time you know when you've got your best shots in and you think the shuttle is on the ground but with the kind of player he is it does not work like that."

Chong Wei, chasing his first world title, will face defending champion Chen Jin in the semis if the Chinese disposes of Denmark's Hans-Kristian Vittinghus later on Friday.

The Malaysian said: "It would be a tough match but I beat him at the Asian Games last year."

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