Semenya content with second-place finish
Reigning world indoor and European champion Savinova timed her run to perfection, coming from near the back of the pack at 600m to clinch the victory in 1min 55.87sec.
Semenya, looking to bury controversy over her true gender, took silver (1:56.35), with Kenya's 2007 champion Janeth Jepkosgei claiming bronze (1:57.42).
As the 20-year-old Semenya hit the home stretch, all eyes at a packed Daegu Stadium were on her, but the South African had not bet on Savinova, who produced a startling burst to cruise past the field to the line. "The race was pretty good," said Semenya. "Even though I got a silver today, I really enjoyed it. It was better than two years ago. I know I won gold in Berlin, but I am feeling much better today."