Saina storms into semifinals

Kashyap crashes out in quarters

India’s ace shuttler Saina Nehwal kept her hopes of winning a maiden All England Badminton Championship alive by powering into the semifinals with a gritty win over Shixian Wang here on Friday.

The second seed Saina, whose best performance in the coveted Super Series Premier event is a semifinal appearence in 2010, fought tooth and nail against the sixth-seeded Chinese before securing a 23-21, 19-21, 21-16 victory in 74-minute quarterfinal clash at the National Indoor Arena.

This is the fourth time Saina beat Shixian in five career meetings. In the process, Saina also ensured the exit of all Chinese women from singles competition.

In the semifinals on Saturday, London Olympics bronze medallist Saina will take on the winner of the match between fourth seed Juliane Schenk and eight seed Ratchanok Intanon.
While it was a day to savour for Saina, compatriot Parupalli Kashyap had a forgettable one. The World No 9 Indian was disposed off 16-21, 10-21 by second seed Chen Long of China in the men’s quarterfinal match.

Saina, who had beaten Wang in their last three meetings, dictated proceedings from the start.

Shixian looked nervous in the beginning but she fought back to not just equalise but also take a crucial 19-16 lead over Saina in the first game. But the Indian showed sheer grit by not just coming back but also saving a gamepoint before winning the game.
Saina the lost a hard-fought  second game but then found her range again in the third, outplaying Shixian in fine fashion.

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