In what was more about bragging rights, Saina Nehwal emerged victorious against PV Sindhu in their first encounter outside the country by 21-13, 21-19 points in the Indonesia Masters quarterfinal. Saina will next now take on Ratchanok Intanon in the women’s singles semi-finals on Saturday.
Saina, who had defeated Rio Olympics silver medallist Sindhu to secure the National title last year, decided to keep the trajectory of the shuttle flatter and played rather shorter rallies. By that, Saina successfully managed to keep Sindhu’s big forehand smash in check and played the shuttle more on her body.
After Saina took the lead in the game, Sindhu came from behind to level the score at 9-9, but Saina decided to raise the tempo of the game and took a two-point advantage at the break. Sindhu could never really recover from that and the former won points for fun and pocketed the opening game 21-13 in just 14 minutes.
However, Sindhu decided to bring her attacking self to the fore in the second game and opened up a 10-5 lead, taking advantage of Saina’s unforced errors while pushing the shuttle to the back-court. But Saina brought all her experience into play instantly as she began pressurising Sindhu by changing the pace of the rallies to draw level at 10-10.
Though Sindhu won the next point, Saina went neck to neck and took the game to 14-14. The World No. 12 then targeted her academy mate’s midriff and secured quick points and eventually closed out the game at 21-19 to reach her first semi-final since the bronze medal campaign at the BWF World Championship in August last year.