ALL ENGLAND 2013 QF – Saina ends Chinese challenge

Saina Nehwal progressed to the semi-finals of the Yonex All England, knocking out the last Chinese hope in the women’s singles, Wang Shixian in three games. On the adjacent court, […]

Saina Nehwal progressed to the semi-finals of the Yonex , knocking out the last Chinese hope in the women’s singles, Wang Shixian in three games. On the adjacent court, compatriot Kashyap Parupalli was not so lucky as he succumbed to a strong Chen Long in another India vs China matchup.

By Michael Burke, Badzine Correspondent, live from Birmingham.  Photos: Yohan Nonotte for Badmintonphoto (live).

Saina Nehwal (pictured left, India) added to a head-to-head record that stood 3-1 in her favour before this match, as she defeated the last remaining Chinese hope in the women’s singles, to equal her best performance of reaching the semi-finals at the tournament in 2010. This is the first time since 1995 that a Chinese player has not featured in the women’s singles semi-finals of an All England tournament.

A game dominated by long rallies, 74 minutes were required for the victory. From 9-all in the first, neither player could get more than a point ahead until Wang managed to edge ahead at 19-16.

A stunning deceptive drop saved game point as Saina dragged her way back into contention, but she herself looked nervous as she played into the net on her chance at the game. A second go was afforded however as a big smash and another cross drop sealed the first game 23-21.

A second end saw Wang Shixian (pictured right) more solid and much better able to utilise her smash. Twice able to take a 5-point lead, Nehwal took advantage of a series of errors to reverse the deficit for a 17-13 lead. A disputed line call allowed Wang Shixian to draw level from which she took the next two points and the second game, 21-19.

Again there was not much to separate the payers early in the third, but a run of six points to go up 13-7 proved too much for Wang to overcome, as Saina held on to seal the win as Wang smashed into the net, the final score 21-16.

Speaking after the match, Saina said “I am just happy because I am playing well and there is a lot of Indian fans who are really cheering me a lot. I just want to focus on my semi-final tomorrow, as every match is tough as at tournaments.  All of the players in the draw are very tough.”

Speaking of her opponent: “She had a good [second] game to come back when I was ahead and again in the third set when I was leading 15-8, she was still able to come back strong so I really wanted to finish the match. I was really hoping in the third set that she would not come back again so I was a bit careful because I already had a big lead. We are both rally players so it is always very tough, especially as she has a very good defence.”

Nehwal’s compatriot, Kashyap Parupalli was not as fortunate, coming up against strong second seed, Chen Long (pictured left, with opponent Kashyap Parupalli). Parupalli played well early on to match the Chinese player for his physicality, displaying a particularly solid defence. But he could not hold this level, as Chen was able to open up his smash to take the first game 21-16.

Chen was a level above Parupalli in the second, as he opened up a big gap early on. Despite a strong effort from the Indian he could not string the points together to fight back, the second game finishing 21-10.

After the match Chen said: “I played well, but I don’t know about my chances going forward as I don’t yet know who I will play.”

A disappointed Parupalli spoke of his performance to say: “I made too many mistakes. He played a lot more safely in the second game which paid off for him.”

The full results for the day can be found here.

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About Michael Burke