Free Press Journal

Saina crashes out of BWF Superseries


Dubai: Indian ace shuttler Saina Nehwal failed to win her third and final league game against defending champion Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei and crashed out of the BWF Superseries Finals losing 21-16, 18-21, 14-21 here on Friday.

Saina rallied back into the year-ending tournament after losing her first encounter, by beating Spain’s Carolina Marin in the second tie. But then she lost in the 51-minute contest at the Hamdan Sports Complex and bowed out.

Reigning world champion Carolina Marin of Spain won a single match — same as Saina — but was better on games difference. The world No.1 joined Japanese Nazomi Okuhara from the Group A in the semi-finals that will take place on Saturday.

On Friday, it was Saina who started on the front foot in the opener and got to 5-3 but Ying then tied the game at 5-5 and then made it 9-9. The 25-year-old Indian stayed strong and was also aided by Ying’s flaws. Ying’s cross-court shots either sailed over or went wide as she lost 16-21.

In the second game, however, it was Ying who was quick to get off the blocks and raced ahead to 13-6 with her delectable drop shots falling into place. Saina would just not let her rival get away with it and came back strong to tie it at 16-16. But Ying remained calm and collected and edged past Saina to bag the second.

In the third, Ying proved to be the fitter of the two as she surged ahead. Saina had to play catch up and faltered trying to force the issue. Ying remained composed and grabbed the game easily at 21-14.

Another Indian in the fray, Kidambi Srikanth, who was already knocked out of the men’s singles Group B, lost his third straight match in the group stage. The 22-year-old lost to Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen 17-21, 13-21 in 32 minutes.

Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen topped the group and Japanese Kento Momota claimed the second position to advance to the semi-finals.