HYDERABAD: The stunning win over Chinese star Wang Xin on Friday was just what Saina Nehwal needed to get out of her lean patch. She came out inspired on Saturday and outclassed Tine Baun of Denmark to cruise 21-17, 21-18 in the semifinals of the BWF Super Series Finals in Liu Zhou (China).
The straight-game victory over the two-time All England champion helped Saina become the first Indian singles player to reach the summit stage of year-ending Super Series Finals. Mixed doubles pair of Valiyaveetil Diju and Jwala Gutta had made the grade in 2009 but they lost in the final.
The Hyderabadi will now meet world champion Wang Yihan of China in the final on Sunday. Yihan is the only player in the current crop who has always beaten Saina.
The world No.1, who enjoys a 3-0 head-to-head record over the Indian star, defeated Saina twice this year - in the Indonesia Super Series Premier final and in the last eight stage of the China Masters. Saina, however, is unperturbed by these figures or past defeats.
She feels if she can beat Wang Xin she can beat anyone in the world. "I was desperately waiting for one big win to get back my rhythm and confidence. I achieved that on Friday and I feel good now," said Saina, who is cautious about the lanky Yihan.
Saina said the thought of losing against Baun never crossed her mind. "I played with the only objective of winning the match. I lost to Tine in Hong Kong and I used that experience to get the better of her here," she said.
Changing the serve returns all through the match and by employing different strokes Saina dominated Tine on Saturday.
Though Tine remained in contention till the 14th point in the first game, Saina changed gears and played aggressively towards the end of the first game. She moved to 18-14 and then 20-15 before snatching up the winner.
Saina was at her dominant best in the second game. Foxing the opponent by changing the pace of her strokes regularly she went into the break with a comfortable lead of 11-7.
Though Tine made every effort to come back into the match, Saina was in the zone. She soon moved to 19-14 and though the Dane made one desperate bid when she came close at 18-19, Saina wrapped up the tie without much trouble.
Earlier, China's Chen Long shocked world No.1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia 21-16, 16-21, 21-18 in the men's singles semifinal. In the final, he will meet Lin Dan, who beat Peter Gade 21-12, 21-15.