French Open: Tai Tzu Ying battles past Saina Nehwal to stay on title course

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Can Tai Tzu Ying beat Chen Yufei for the 11th time in the French Open semi-final on Saturday? (photo: AFP)
Can Tai Tzu Ying beat Chen Yufei for the 11th time in the French Open semi-final on Saturday? (photo: AFP)

Paris: Different tournament, same outcome. In the second meeting of World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan and World No. 9 Saina Nehwal of India in less than a week, the Taiwanese player overcame Nehwal in straight sets 22-20, 21-11 to advance to the French Open semi-final on Friday.

Both players had met each other in last Sunday’s Denmark Open final, where Tai had to dig deep to see off the Indian player 21-13, 13-21, 21-6.

Tai will once again take on China’s Chen Yufei, whom she held a 10-0 career head-to-head record. Tai got the last laugh against Chen in their previous meeting last Friday at the Denmark Open quarter-finals.

Another Indian player, World No. 2 P.V. Sindhu also crashed out of the French Open on Friday. The No. 3 seed Sindhu lost to No. 7 seed He Bingjiao of China 13-21, 16-21 in a 40-minute battle.

He Bingjiao will meet No. 2 seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan on Saturday.

The 2018 All England mixed doubles champions Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino of Japan and the Rio Olympic champions Tontowi Ahmad/Liliyana Natsir were neck and neck before unseeded Japanese pair held off the last push from the Indonesia in the decider to win the match 16-21, 21-16, 18-21.

Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino will have their most difficult test of the tournament on Saturday as they are set to battle No. 1 seeds Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong of China.

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