HYDERABAD, March 27 (Bernama) — In a highly-charged quarter- finals, Malaysian singles sensation Julia Wong Pei Xian created a major upset, nudging out Indian ace Saina Nehwal at the Yonex Sunrise Indian Open at Gachibowli Stadium here today.
Saina, the second-seed, failed to weave her magic, despite thunderous home support and went down fighting in three matches to Julia, her shadow rival in the Indian’s badminton career.
Julia rode on Saina’s unexpected erratic game and pressured on piling points in the second match and even widened the points 4-0 and 12-5, which the world No 9 found it hard to bridge the gap.
The Malaysian took almost an hour to oust an adamant Saina 12-21, 21-13, 21-18.
“I was a little tensed as she was seeded second. After losing my first match, I opened up my game and Saina started to make many errors. She looked nervous and I continued my game plan,” Julia, who had beaten Saina for the second consecutive time out of their five meets, told Bernama.
It was a bonus for the Malaysian women’s singles team which had a bad spell today, after hopeful Wong Meh Choo lost to Japanese Yu Hirayama 17-21, 18-21, while her compatriot Lydia Cheah Li Ya suffered a similar fate in the hands of Singapore’s Zhang Beiwen 20-22, 21-9.
In the men’s singles quarter-finals, Mohd Hafiz Hashim was stretched to three matches by Indonesian Andre Kurniawan Tedjono, before the Malaysian won 21-18, 14-21, 21-16, allowing him a semi-final berth.
But Lee Tsuen Seng’s campaign ended in Hyderabad, after losing to rising Chinese star Chen Long 21-15, 21-8.
The second edition of the India Open offers prize money of US$120,000 (RM432,000).