Saina Nehwal's win not enough for semis berth
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After two successive defeats, Saina Nehwal finally managed to post a hard-fought win over Yeon Ju Bae of Korea in her last Group B match but it was not good enough to ensure a semifinal berth for the Indian ace shuttler in the BWF World Superseries Finals on Friday.
The 23-year-old Indian registered a 21-11 17-21 21-13 win over Bae in a match that last for one hour. It was Saina's sixth victory over Bae, who had an upper hand against the Indian recently in French Super Series and World Champioship.
World number six Saina had suffered back-to-back defeats at the hands of Minatsu Mitani of Japan and world number one Chinese shuttler Li Xuerui in her two matches of Group B, which had put her in a must-win situation today to salvage any hope of a semifinal qualification.
A straight-game victory over Bae would have brightened her chances but after the Korean snatched the second game away, it dashed the hopes of the Olympic bronze medallist to reach the semis.
Later in the day, Xuerui packed off Mitani 21-11 21-14 to make it a three-way tie among Saina, Bae and Mitani for the second place in the group.
However, according to the tournament rules, when the difference of games won and games lost was calculated, Bae was found ahead of Saina and Mitani and the Korean joined Xuerui as the runners-up from Group B.
After lying low for the last two days, Saina came out with all cylinders blazing against Bae. She moved well across the court and played an aggressive game.
In the opening game, from 6-6, Saina registered six straight points to gather a healthy lead. The six point run was broken when Saina hit long but the Indian continued to dominate and reached 15-7. But a series of unforced errors saw Bae trim the lead to 10-15.
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