SAINA Nehwal took world No. 1 Wang Yihan to the distance but it was otherwise smooth sailing for China as they reached the Uber Cup semi-finals with a 3-0 win over India last night.
Saina was on the verge of pulling off a major upset over the 2009 All-England champion when she reached 18-all in the deciding game but was let down by her netplay. Yihan eventually pulled through 14-21, 21-11, 21-18 in 56 minutes.
China quickly snatched their second point after the world No. 1 doubles pair of Ma Jin-Wang Xiaoli beat Jwala Gutta-Ashwini Ponnappa 21-8, 21-11 in 27 minutes.
Second singles player Wang Xin sealed victory for China with a clinical 21-10, 21-14 win over Sayali Gokhale.
Despite failing to get the better of her Chinese rival, Saina was pleased with her performance yesterday.
“She was very quick at the net. I made a few mistakes towards the end and she capitalised on it,” said Saina, who became the first Indian winner of a Super Series title at the Indonesian Open last year.
“I think I played really well as I was not expecting to win against her. I was just hoping to scare her a little bit.”
China, hunting for a 12th Uber Cup title, will take on Indonesia for a place in the final today.
Japan achieved their target to earn a semi-finals ticket when they overcame Denmark 3-1. Japan will take on South Korea for a place in the final. The Koreans had to weather a fierce onslaught from Russia before chalking up a 3-1 win.