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Saina sinks in semis of Malaysia Open

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India’s ace shuttler, Saina Nehwal crashed out of the semi-final of Malaysia Open Super Series. File Photo.
India’s ace shuttler, Saina Nehwal crashed out of the semi-final of Malaysia Open Super Series. File Photo.

India’s ace shuttler Saina Nehwal suffered a shock straight-game defeat at the hands of world number 12 Tzu Ying Tai of Chinese Taipei in the semi-final to crash out of the Malaysia Open Super Series here today.

World number two Saina was not in her elements as she failed to break the solid defence of Tai, who played like a girl possessed to notch up a 22-20 21-14 win in a 35-minute match.

The sixth seed was better at the nets and also used her smashes to good effect against Saina, who succumbed to her second loss to Tai. The Taipei girl had defeated the Indian during the Denmark Open in 2011.

The 22-year-old Indian was lagging 1-3 initially but she soon wrested the lead with a cross court shot at 5-4, which Tai failed to return. But with the Indian succumbing to a series of unforced errors, Tai went into the breather at 11-6.

Saina was erratic after that, allowing Tai to widen the gap and she eventually earned a five-point cushion at 20-15 with an over the head return.

However, Tai made too many unforced errors after that, which allowed Saina to save five game points but the Indian faltered at the nets twice to give Tai the bragging rights, leading 1-0.

In the second game, Tai once again opened up a 8-3 lead.

Saina tried to break Tai’s game but the Chinese Taipei girl was well prepared for the challenge as she led 11-6 at the breather.

Just after the break, Saina played aggressively to floor Tai but the Taiwan girl did not allow her much leeway to narrow the gap. She moved well on the court and returned everything that was thrown at her to frustrate the Indian.

A few of Saina’s shots also went out while Tai mixed her strokes well. Tai gathered a couple of points by her cross court smashes and earned the match point with an over the head tap which caught Saina off guard.

Saina tried to play a cross court smash next which went out as Tai celebrated.

(This article was published on January 19, 2013)
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