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Saina loses in semi-final

Two-time defending champion and top seed Saina Nehwal of India was ousted by nemesis Shixian Wang of China in the women’s singles semi-final of the USD 125,000 Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold here.

Saina Nehwal
Hopes dashed: Saina Nehwal. Pic/AFP

The fourth seeded Shixian halted Saina’s journey to a consecutive third final by winning the match 21-11, 10-21, 21-9 in 50 minutes at St Jakobshalle on Saturday, denying the Indian to celebrate her 23rd birthday yesterday with the title.

Saina, who had beaten the Chinese last week in the quarter-final of the All-England Open Championships, however, still leads Shixian 4-2 in career
meetings.

The Hyderabadi went into the match feeling confident, having beaten the former World No 1 the last four times. But her on-court form did not show that.  Known for her quick feet on the court, Saina was boggled by Chinese opponent, who had last beaten the top seed back in the World Championships in 2010.

Bad start
Saina was completely off the track in the first game allowing the World No 7 to take a huge 8-0 lead at the start from where she could never recuperate.
Scripts changed hands in the second game as from 13-10 up, the defending champion notched eight straight points to take the game and level the match.But Saina again let herself down in the third by making wrong line judgements and unforced errors.

Shixian led the game from the start and kept extending the lead, needing just one match-point to pull it off. Surprisingly, there were no smash winners by either players considering that both heavily rely on smashes as most points were won at the net.

Shixian’s deft touches at the net proved to be the difference between the two. Shixian will next will Thailand’s fifth seed Ratchanok Intanon in the final. The hugely talented Ratchanok, who was a finalist at the All England Open, shoved aside Japanese Yui Hashimoto 19-21, 21-10, 21-13 in one hour and two minutes.

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