SAH ALAM (Malaysia): Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal sealed a semi-final spot after a hard-fought victory but compatriot PV Sindhu crumbled under pressure to bow out of the women’s singles competition at the Malaysia Open Super Series Premier tournament on Friday.
World No. 8 Saina dug deep into her vast experience as she recovered from a game deficit to beat Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertsuk 19-21, 21-14, 21-14 in a 58-minute clash at the quarter-finals stage of the $550,000 event. Saina had beaten Porntip seven times in their last eight meetings.
The Olympic bronze medallist Indian will next meet Tai Tzu Ying on Saturday. Saina has a 5-8 record against the Chinese Taipei shuttler, who has beaten the Indian in their last five meetings, including in last month’s All England Championship.
The experience of beating the World No. 4 Ratchanok Intanon at the Korea Open last year, however, did not quite help Sindhu as she suffered her fourth defeat to the Thai girl in five meetings, going down 7-21, 8-21 in 29 minutes. With both the matches happening on adjacent courts, Saina and Sindhu both faced defeats in the opening game. Saina managed a comeback, but 20-year-old Sindhu was out of sorts as she was outplayed by her opponent.
Saina trailed 3-6 early on and even though she caught up after the break at 14-14, Porntip managed to get the better of the Indian in the opening game. In the second game, Saina led 11-7 at the interval and then moved into a 20-13 lead, despite a fighting Porntip narrowing it down to 12-13 at one point.