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Rediff.com  » Sports » Saina Nehwal tames Tine Baun to enter semi-finals

Saina Nehwal tames Tine Baun to enter semi-finals

Last updated on: August 2, 2012 23:34 IST

Saina Nehwal tames Tine Baun to enter semi-finals

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Saina Nehwal lit up another gloomy day for India at the Olympics by storming into the women's singles semi-finals, even as shooting medal hope Ronjan Sodhi fell by the wayside on Thursday.

- London Olympics 2012 - Complete coverage

The ace shuttler exhibited excellent court-craft and unflinching attitude to defeat senior opponent and two-time All England champion Tine Baun of Denmark 21-15, 22-20 in a pulsating quarter-final clash that lasted 37 minutes.

Saina, thus, becomes the country's first badminton player to reach the last four stage in the quadrennial sports spectacle since 1992, when the discipline was introduced as a medal sport.

- Wish Saina all the best for the semis

In 2008 at Beijing, the 22-year-old player created history by becoming the first Indian shuttler to reach the quarter-finals. On Thursday she went a step further.


Image: Saina Nehwal in action against Tine Baun
Photographs: Andres Leighton/AP

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Saina Nehwal tames Tine Baun to enter semi-finals

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Saina next meets world No 1 Wang Yihan. Victory in the semi-final match will ensure her and India at least a silver medal.

World champion Yihan led compatriots Wang Xin and Li Xuerui into the semis.  Xin beat 17-year-old Thai Ratchanok Intanon 17-21, 21-18, 21-14 while Xuerui, who came out of nowhere this year to earn a last-minute berth at the Games, beat Yip Pui Yin of Hong Kong 21-12, 22-20, winning the last game from 16-20 down.

India has just one bronze from the ongoing Games, won by rifle shooter Gagan Narang, in the men's 10m Air Rifle event.Saina's superb display came as balm for the Indian contingent after the listless display put up by Sodhi in the men's double trap, in which the Asian Games gold medalist even failed to enter the final by finishing a distant 11th out of 24 competitors.

- Wish Saina all the best for the semis

After winning thr first game comfortably -- she led 11-7 at the break and 20-12 -- Saina tried to exploit the length of the court and combined tosses and deft drops in the second but Tine was up to the task.

The Dane Tine opened up a 3-0 lead and extended it to 10-7, but Saina reeled off four straight points
to snatch the lead 11-10 at the break again. But Tine was not finished she caught up with the Indian ace at 15-15 and even earned three game points to move to 20-17.


Photographs: Saurabh Das/AP

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Saina Nehwal tames Tine Baun to enter semi-finals

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But Saina was not the one to take it lying low and she executed a cross court smash to move to 18-20.

She pocketed the next point when her stroke was judged 'in' by the line-umpire, much to chagrin of Tine, who thought it was out and started celebrating her comeback by pumping her fists.

- Wish Saina all the best for the semis

After that, Tine committed to three unforced errors as Saina clinched the issue and burst into celebration.

Sodhi, a medal favourite prior to the Games along with Beijing Olympics hero Abhinav Bindra and Gagan Narang, put up a miserable display in the second and third rounds after starting promisingly with a score of 48 out of 50 in the opening round that put paid to his hopes.

The 32-year-old Firozepur-born marksman, who was the lone gold medal winner for the country in the Guangzhou Asiad two years ago, finished with a tally of 134 out of 150 and made an exit.


Photographs: Saurabh Das/AP

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