Indian shuttle star Saina Nehwal dug deep for a hard fought win over Thai rival Ratchanok Intanon while Kidambi Srikanth too continued his good run to make the semi finals of the USD 750,000 Australian Super Series Badminton tournament on Friday.
In an exciting quarterfinal between Olympic bronze medallist Saina and 2013 World Champion Ratchanok, it was the former who managed to upstage the second seed 28-26 21-16 after a 56-minute hard-fought battle.
Saina will next take on the winner of the match between fourth seed Wang Yihan and eighth seed Tai Tzu Ying.
In the men’s singles, World No. 13 Srikanth dispatched off Korea’s Kwang Hee Heo 21-18 21-17 in just 36 minutes.
The Guntur lad will next take on Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus on Saturday. The Indian beat the Danes twice in 2015 while losing once at the 2014 French Open.
In an intense opening game, Saina’s resilience against Ratchanok’s guile was on display as the duo fought for every point till the end.
In an extraordinary long first game, Saina held on to her nerves in the face of some awesome display by Ratchanok who used her touch shots to good effect.
After fighting her way to an 18-16 lead, Saina saw the advantage slip as Ratchanok clawed back. There after it was anybody’s game as every time Saina grabbed a lead, Ratchanok came up with a cross court dribble or a disguised drop or acute angled smash to keep herself in contention.
However, in the end, it was Saina who emerged on top riding on a net error by the Thai girl and a brilliant low angled return which landed just inside the backline.
In the second game, Saina once again opened up an 11-7 lead at the break and continued to dominate the proceedings after the interval as she moved to 15-8.
Ratchanok seemed to lack the urgency shown in the first game as she failed to reach for the returns.