London Olympics: Champion Saina cruises into semifinals

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saina-nehwal-enters semifinalsAug 3, London: Saina Nehwal made it a historic day for Indian badminton by entering the women’s singles semi-finals at the London Olympics 2012 here on Thursday.

Fourth seeded Saina edged past fifth seed Tine Baun of Denmark 21-15, 22-20 in a 39-minute match at the Wembley Areana to set up a clash with the current world No 1 and World champion Yihan Wang of China in the semifinals, whom she hasn’t beaten once in her last five encounters.

With this win, Saina bettered her quarterfinal finish at the Beijing Games four years ago and also excorcised the demons of that painful defeat to Maria Kristin Yulianti of Indonesia.

The world No 5 Indian had to toil hard against the two-time All England Champion Tine, who matched her strokes but was a tad erratic, which proved to be her bane in the quarterfinal match. Saina was very precise with her strokes, while Tine was erratic initially and it allowed the Indian to lead 11-7 at the break.

After the breather, Saina slowly mixed her strokes to move into the game point at 20-12 with a short smash but she committed some unforced errors and a few judgemental mistakes on her part allowed the Dane to save three game points. Saina finally pocketed the first game with a smash which Tine netted.

In the second game, Tine opened up a slender 3—0 lead and extended it to 10—7 but Saina reeled off four straight points to lead 11—10 at the break once again.

Saina tried to exploit the length of the court and started combining lifts and clears with drops and net-shots but Tine was up for the job as she caught up with Saina at 15-15 and even managed to earn three game points at 20-17. But Super Saina was not the one to take it lying low as she executed a cross court smash to move to 18-20.

It is for the first time that an Indian player will feature in the semi-finals of Olympics badminton. The last female player was Saina herself, in Beijing 2008, that was only till the quarter-finals. She has now put that disappointment of last eight exit in China to move one step closer to a medal.

On Friday, she will be up against China’s world number one Wang Yihan. Saina will have yet another tough day at office as she has never beaten Wang Yihan in five previous clashes.

News Gathered by India News

Posted by on Thursday, August 2nd, 2012. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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