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Saina sails into China Open final

Last updated on: November 14, 2015 15:32 IST
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Saina Nehwal

IMAGE: India's Saina Nehwal returns a shot to China's Wang Yihan. Photograph: Nyimas Laula/Reuters

Defending champion Saina Nehwal sailed into the final of the US $700,000 China Open Super Series Premier after a 21-13, 21-18 win over local favourite Yihan Wang, at the Haixia Olympic Sports Centre, in Fuzhou, on Saturday.

The Olympic bronze medallist sealed the final spot after notching up an emphatic win over China's Yihan Wang, a 2011 World Champion and 2012 London Olympics silver medallist, in the semifinals.

Up against one of her toughest rivals, who has beaten her nine times, Saina showed her prowess as he fought back from 2-4 down in the opening game and prevailed in a grueling battle in the second to outclass Wang.

In the first game, Saina took time to get off the mark as Wang surged to a 2-0 lead early on. The Chinese led 5-3 before Saina reeled off six straight points to zoom ahead to a 9-5 lead and held a 11-7 advantage at the break.

After the interval, Wang caught up at 11-11 but Saina changed gears, and a seven-point burst from 14-13 helped her to pocket the opening game.

The second game turned out to be a thriller as lead exchanged hands too frequently. Saina lead 9-6 at one stage and even though Wang clawed back at 10-10, the Indian wrested a slender 13-11 lead soon.

What ensued next is a tough fight for each points as they moved neck and neck before Saina marched ahead to seal the issue in her favour.

The top seeded Indian will next take on Olympic champion Li Xuerui of China, an opponent against whom she has lost nine times and the only wins coming during the 2012 Indonesia Open and Singapore Open Super Series in 2010.

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