Dubai: Olympic bronze medalist Saina Nehwal dished out a dominating performance to post a straight-game win over two-time All England Champion Wang Shixian of China and start her campaign on a positive note at the season-ending BWF’s World Super Series badminton final.
A 2011 finalist, Saina showed great temperament and good repertoire of strokes to tame the former World No.1 Shixian, who had beaten the Indian four times in their last five meetings. The China Open winner, Saina prevailed 21-17, 21-18 over Shixian in a grueling women’s singles match that lasted little less than an hour at the Hamdan Sports Complex.
In the first game, it was a neck-and-neck contest till the eighth point. Then, the Hyderabadi upped the ante and snatched 10 straight points to secure the first game though Shixian staged a late fight back.
The second game saw an even contest as Shixian proved why she is the reigning Asiad champion, taking the game to the wire. But, Saina managed to keep her composure and held her nerve to pull off a sensational victory.
With this win, the London Olympic bronze medalist took a 6-5 lead in career meetings against the formidable Chinese.
In the next match, the 24-year-old Saina will Thursday take on South Korean Sung Ji Hyun, who trails 1-4 in career meetings against the Indian.
Sung Ji Hyun (South Korea) bt Bae Yeon Ju (South Korea) 21-15, 21-11.
Tai Tzu Ying (Chinese Taipei) bt Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand) 21-13, 18-21, 21-10.
Saina Nehwal bt Wang Shixian (China) 21-17, 21-18.
Tian Qing/Zhao Yunlei (China) bt Luo Ying/Luo Yu (China) 21-17, 18-21, 21-11.
Reika Kakiiwa/Miyuki Maeda (Japan) bt Nitya Krishinda Maheshwari/Greysia Polii (Indonesia) 18-21, 22-20, 6-8 (retd.).
Jung Kyung Eun/Kim Ha Na (South Korea) bt Chang Ye Na/Kim So Yeong (South Korea) 21-12, 9-21, 21-15.
Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen (Denmark) bt Sudket Prapakamol/Saralee Thoungthonkam (Thailand) 21-5, 24-22.
Liu Cheng/Bao Yixin (China) bt Tontowi Ahmad/Lilyana Natsir (Indonesia) 21-10, 12-21, 21-15.