Saina Nehwal's dream run came to an end with a heart-breaking loss to top seed Wang Yihan of China in the girls' singles final at the World Junior Badminton Championships in Incheon, South Korea, on Saturday.
World no. 32 Saina, who could have created history in India by winning the title, bowed to the might of 18-year-old Wang, considered a world class potential with a 13-21, 9-21 verdict in 26 minutes.
"I have not played Wang before. She is a good player and has defeated top players this year. It will be a tough match," she had predicted yesterday.
It has been a fabulous week for Saina as the 14th seed had etched out a stunning performance to knockout Bae Youn Joo of Korea in the semi-final.
In the final, however, Wang proved to be a tough nut to crack for the 16-year-old Indian.
Reaching the final of a 128-draw event is still a creditable performance by Saina who has turned 2006 into a real breakthrough year.
The Hyderabadi teenager made it big when she won her first international title, the Philippines Open, in May by beating then world no. 4 Xu Huwain of Germany on the way.
She also reached the quarter-finals in two other events which took her ranking from around the 100 at the start of the year to the current 32 in the women's circuit.
Saina also played a crucial role in India clinching the team bronze at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne early this year.