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Rediff.com  » Sports » Saina in Asian badminton semis

Saina in Asian badminton semis

April 16, 2010 22:13 IST

Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal was the lone bright spot for India, entering the semi-finals of the Asian Badminton Championships in Delhi even as all other Indians crashed out in the quarter-finals on Friday.

She unleashed her repertoire of strokes and engaged in long rallies to outclass seventh seed Mew Choo Wong of Malaysia 21-5, 21-13 and set up a semi-final clash with Chinese qualifier Xuerui Li on Saturday.

Barring Sania's fine showing, India had a disappointing day, as Aditi Mutatkar crashed out of the women's singles and the men's doubles pair of Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas and the top-seeded mixed doubles combo of Jwala Gutta and V Diju bowed out in the quarter-finals.

Returning from an injury lay-off, Aditi couldn't match up to the fast-paced game of Chinese qualifier Xin Liu and went down 21-14, 21-11 in the quarter-finals.

Rupesh and Sanave squandered a game's lead and lost 21-17, 16-21, 15-21 to the Korean pair of Sang Hoon Han and Ji Man Hwang, while Jwala and Diju's campaign also ended in similar fate, shocked 21-15, 11-21, 14-21 by the Chinese duo of Zihan Qiu and Qing Tian.

In other quarter-final matches, second seed Lin Dan beat seventh seed Yun Hu 21-11, 21-10 in the men's singles, while in the women's singles second seed Mi Zhou of Hong Kong defeated fifth seed Thai Salakjit Ponsana 23-21, 21-17.

World No 6 Saina had no problems whatsoever in getting past her opponent as she dominated the proceedings with her powerful smashes, flicks and accurate drops to which the Malaysian had no answer.

"I didn't expect it to be so easy. I still can't believe the way I took the first game. All my strokes were coming good and I played my 100 per cent today. My defence was also good," the 20-year-old Hyderabadi said after the match.

"I am playing a Chinese qualifier and she has been playing well. It will be again a 50-50 match," Saina added.