Saina fails to crack Lin puzzle in quarters

Indian challenge ends as Diju-Jwala too crash out

Saina fails to crack Lin puzzle in quarters

Contrasting Moods: Sania Nehwal is crestfallen while Wang Lin of China celebrates her quarterfinal victory in Hyderabad on Friday. DH photo/Kishor Kumar Bolar

Cheered on by a large gathering at the Gachibowli stadium, Saina did raise visions of an upset win, but failed to keep her rampaging Chinese rival, World number two Wang Lin, at bay consistently to go down fighting 16-21, 19-21.

Earlier, Diju-Jwala, who had set the court on fire on Friday with their scintillating performance, didn’t live up to the expectations falling 11-21, 20-22 to the Indonesian World number two pair of Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir.

A bit patchy to start, Saina conceded a whopping 1-8 lead thanks to some unforced errors. “I was so well prepared for this match.

“I couldn’t get off to a good start and committed some silly mistakes which I never thought I would do,” said Saina after the match.

Saina however, fought back well to level the score at 11-11 and an engrossing match appeared to be on cards. But the Chinese girl didn’t allow the grip to totally slip away from her. Reeling off a series of winners from close to the net, Wang extended the lead to 18-13 before wrapping it up at 21-16.

Saina, a winner over Wang in the Indonesian Super Series final in June, gave her rival a taste of her own medicine in the second game.

The Hyderebadi got off to a sizzling start even as Wang looked off-colour. She looked defensive and Saina made the most of it surging to a 10-2 lead. The game was for Saina’s taking but much to her chagrin she frittered away the advantage as Wang won eight points in a row to level the game at 10-10.

Wang on song
Wang effectively negated her dribbles and retrieved everything Saina throwed at her.

After maintaining an edge till 18-17, Saina fell behind as Wang took lead at 19-18 for th first time in the game.

In fact, Wang won six points at that stage while losing just one which sealed the issue for her.     

“I was playing good dribbles but she was able to tap everything back in my court where as in Indonesia she was lifting everything that helped me attack her. She was also picking up all my smashes,” observed Saina. 

 While saying that the result could have been better, National coach Pulella Gopi Chand praised her ward for the courageous show.

“It was a great game from Saina. As a coach, I couldn’t have asked for more from Saina, looking at the fact that she was just coming off chicken pox,” he noted.

 Diju-Jwala, up against a better combination, were unimpressive in the opening game. Though they upped their performance in the second, it was too little and too late in the day to salvage anything.

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