Semi-final trouble continues as Saina’s run ends in Malaysia Open

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Semi-final trouble continues as Saina’s run ends in Malaysia Open

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Arun S Kaimal

04/09/2016

Saina Nehwal found her hopes of making it to the finals squashed for the third consecutive tournament in a row after she crashed out of the Malaysia Open on Saturday. The third-seeded Indian found it tough against Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying and surrendered the match 19-21, 13-21.

Third successive semi-final and the same result followed. After crashing out in the semi-final of the Swiss Open GPG and India Open, World No.8 Saina Nehwal once again found her chances of a final appearance going up in smokes. Tai Tzu Ying, who ended Saina’s campaign in the Dubai World Superseries final back in December, finished off the Indian hopes in a one-sided contest.

Coming into the match, the 2012 Olympics bronze medallist was trailing the Chinese Taipei shuttler 5-6 in the head-to-head record, and it increased by one for Tai Tzu Ying after a contest that lasted just 34 minutes.

The World No.9 started the opening game by notching up seven points in a row. With the Chinese Taipei shuttler leading 7-0, Saina found it hard to close the gap initially, but slowly made her way up in points taking one step at a time. But Tai Tzu Ying was unstoppable. She didn’t look worried about Saina making the comeback and kept her focus at winning the game by pocketing points in a row.

With the score at 20-14, the first game looked gone for Saina, but she saved five game points to close the match down to just one point. But the spirited comeback came a bit too late for the Indian as Tai Tzu Ying took her sixth game point opportunity and won the game 21-19.

With the comeback giving Saina the momentum, the second game started as an even contest with both players matching each other shot for shot. Unlike the first game, there was no runaway lead for Tai Tzu Ying this time and the score crawled 3-3 and then to 6-6. But, the Chinese Taipei shuttler once again upped her game from their own and pushed ahead to go into the break with an 11-10 lead.

After the break, the one-way traffic we saw in the first game once again resurfaced. Saina struggled to score points, while Tai Tzu Ying was running away with it. The Chinese Taipei shuttler won it 21-13 in the end and finished off the 26-year old Indian’s hopes of a final appearance.  

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