Kuala Lumpur: World No. 3 Li Xuerui of China beat World No. 1 shuttler Saina Nehwal 13-21, 21-17, 22-20 in a 3-set thriller that lasted an hour and eight minutes at the $500,000 Malaysia Open Superseries Premier in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
The Chinese felt huge relief after prevailed in the tightly contested semi-final.
“Today’s match was very tough, especially I have not been playing well against top level players for quite a while, I am ready to give it all in tomorrow’s final,” said Li Xuerui.
With the win, World No. 3 Xuerui extended her career record to 9-2 against Saina.
Interestingly, Li Xuerui will take on Carolina Marin of Spain in the final, whom she lost to at last year’s world championship in Copenhagen, when Marin emerged as winner after defeating Li 17-21, 21-17 and 21-18. Li Xuerui is holding a 3-1 career head-to-head record against the Spanish player.
Meanwhile, in the other semifinal match, Carolina Marin beat second seeded Chinese Wang Shixian 21-17, 24-22.
In the women’s doubles, unseeded South Korean Chang Ye Na and Jung Kyung Eun needed 53 minutes to dispatch world number two duo Tian Qing and Xia Huan and will take on third seeded Chinese pair of Luo Ying and Luo Yu. The Luo sisters defeated their compatriots Ou Dongni/Yu Xiaohan 17-21, 21-19 and 21-9 in the semi-final.
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