Indonesia Masters: Saina sinks Sindhu to sail into semis

Last Updated 26 January 2018, 10:22 IST

Former World No 1 Saina Nehwal asserted her supremacy over Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu with a straight game victory to enter the semifinals of the USD 350,000 Indonesia Masters, here today.

London Olympics bronze medallist Saina, who is coming back from an ankle injury, gave ample display of her powerful game as she overcame Sindhu 21-13 21-19 in an all-Indian women's singles quarterfinal clash.

Saina, who has a silver and a bronze at World Championships, will next face Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon, seeded fourth, who dumped Glasgow World Champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in another match.

Saina has an 8-5 head-to-head record against Ratchanok.

Playing Sindhu for the first time outside India, Saina produced her best and never let the advantage slip after leading 3-0 early on in the first game.

Despite Sindhu fighting back and making it 4-4, Saina continued to dominate the proceedings and entered the break with  a 11-9 advantage.

The 27-year-old continued her good run after the interval, increasing her lead to 18-10 at one stage. Sindhu manages to win three more points before the senior shuttler grabbed the opening game.

In the second game, the celebrated duo engaged in a fierce fight till 3-3 when Sindhu changed gears and jumped to a 10-5 advantage. But Saina clawed back with five straight points to make it 10-10.

Sindhu then managed to enter the lemon break with a slender 11-10 advantage. The duo fought tooth and nail till 14-14 before engaging in a long rally which left both gasping for breath.

But at the end of it, Saina had managed to lead 15-14, which she increased to 17-14.

The World No 3 and second seed, Sindhu tried to claw back but Saina managed to keep her nose ahead and shut the door on her younger compatriot to reach her first semifinal since the World Championship in August last year.

Saina and Sindhu have clashed twice in the international circuit so far with both winnings once. At the 2014 Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold, Saina defeated Sindhu, who returned the favour at the India Open Super Series last year.

London Games bronze medallist, Saina had, however, upstaged Sindhu to clinch the women's singles title in the Senior National Badminton Championship last year.

(Published 26 January 2018, 10:18 IST)

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