Sydney: London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal stormed into the final of the $750,000 Australian Open Superseries badminton tournament here on Saturday, beating World No.2 Wang Yihan of China 21-8, 21-12 in a semi-final. World No.8 Saina dominated the proceedings from the start and lost little sweat to beat Yihan in straight games in the women’s singles at the Sydney Olympic Park to enter her maiden final of the season.
Saina, who had clinched the Australian Open title two years ago, took a 7-1 lead before extending it 11-2 at the interval mark in the opening game. Returning from the break, the 26-year-old continued her rampaging form with a combination down-the-line and cross court hits as well as some fine body shots, to take the game 21-8 away from her Chinese opponent. The second game was no different as Saina took a 6-3 lead before making it 11-4 at the interval.
After the break, it was Saina all the way as the Chinese shuttler found the going difficult to lose the game and the match 12-21. This was the Hyderabadi’s first win against Wang in their last seven outings. She will face China’s Sun Yu in the final on Sunday. Earlier, it was heartbreak for World No. 13 Kidambi Srikanth, who crashed out of the tournament after going down 20-22, 13-21 to Hans-Kristian Vittinghu of Denmark in a men’s singles semi-final.
The 23-year-old Srikanth, who had a 2-1 head-to-head record against the World No.12 Dane prior to the match, gave a tough fight in the first game to reach 20-20, which was anybody’s game. However, Vittinghus won the crucial point and sealed the game. In the second game, the Guntur-born shuttler kept the pressure but lost momentum at crucial times to fall behind. In the end, the pressure was too much to handle and Srikanth lost the game to bow out of his second semi-final of 2016. –IANS
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