Indian fan’s hopes of seeing Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu fight it out in the semifinal of the Hong Kong Open fell apart as the former was knocked out in a thriller by Cheung Ngan Yi. Sindhu earlier made her way to the last four after defeating Liang Xiaoyu in a closely fought encounter on Friday.
Saina Nehwal went up against Cheung Ngan Yi – the World No. 26 whom she had defeated quiet comfortably at the World Championships last year. However, this encounter turned out to be anything but comfortable. Cheung came off the blocks all guns blazing and took the first game without breaking a sweat at 21-8. It seemed like we would witness another early tournament exit for the World No.11.
However, Saina showed a lot of fight in the second game and won it 21-18. She started the third game on the front foot and took a 9-4 lead, but a close line call, where Cheung’s drop shot at the net caught the line by millimeters changed the momentum of the game completely. Chueng charged ahead to take an 18-12 lead as Saina game fell apart completely. The former World No.1 clawed her way back into the match towards the end and took it to 19-18, but Cheung held on and won at 21-19 to set up a clash against another Indian PV Sindhu.
Earlier, PV Sindhu booked her place in the semis with a hard-fought win. She won the first game comfortably at 21-17, and it seemed like she would repeat her straight set win over the Singapore shuttler at the Asia Team Championships earlier this year. The China Open winner took a solid 16-12 lead in the second game, but the World No.32 fought back and surprised Sindhu to win the second game 23-21. Sindhu saved two game points towards the end, but could not hold her off during the third.
After gaining momentum with that win, Liang Xiaoyu took a 15-9 lead in the decider, before Sindhu stepped up her game and turned it around completely. Sindhu won four points in a row towards the end to win the third game 21-18 and with it, the match.