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Saina Nehwal moves closer to title

— PHOTO: AFP

SOLDIERING ON:India's Saina Nehwal overcame Chinese Taipei's Shao Chieh Cheng to make the final of the Indonesian Open.

Jakarta: Defending champion Saina Nehwal inched closer to a third successive Indonesian Open Super Series badminton title after advancing to the final with a three-game triumph over Chinese Taipei's Shao Chieh Cheng here on Saturday.

The fourth-seeded Indian won 21-14, 14-21, 21-17 in a 45-minute battle against giant-killer Cheng, who had created quite a flutter by upstaging top-seeded Shixian Wang and seventh-seeded Xin Liu earlier in the tournament.

In the opening game, Saina didn't give Cheng any chance to overtake her and though the Chinese Taipei shuttler came close many times, the Indian reeled off seven successive points from 14-13 to nose ahead.

However, Cheng raised her game in the next and opened up a 6-0 lead and then moved ahead with giant strides to bounce back into contention with the help of more net winners than Saina's.

Tight affair

The decider was a closer affair but Cheng didn't have a reply to Saina's 11 smash winners as the Indian kept widening the gap with her rival before sealing the game and the match in her favour.

The girl from Hyderabad, in the last six months, has tasted success but her defeats against lower-ranked players such as Japanese Ai Goto in the Indian Open Super Series and then to World No. 18, Inthanon Ratchanok of Thailand, in Sudirman Cup had brought to the fore her inconsistency.

Saina termed her win as a miracle and said she was happy to win today.

Loving the conditions

“I love the conditions here, I reached the final and it is a miracle. I lost to her in Singapore that was close, she played very well. All I wanted to do was give my best,” Saina said.

Asked about her title-clash against the third-seeded Yihan Wang of China, Saina said the wishes of her fans and family will help her to win her first Super Series of the year. — PTI

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