Saina reaches China Open semis

Fuzhou (China): The only Indian shuttler left in the tournament, defending champion Saina Nehwal marched into the women’s singles semi-finals with a comprehensive straight games win over Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara at the prestigious $700,000 China Open Superseries Premier here on Friday.

The top seed took just 42 minutes to ease past the World No.10 Japanese 21-16, 21-13 at the Haixia Olympic Sports Center. With the win, the World No.2 bettered perfect record against Nozomi to 4-0.

The unseeded Nozomi tried giving Saina a fight at the start but once the Hyderabadi found her rhythm, it was a regular thing for her to clinch the first game.

Saina was completely unmatchable in the second game, racing away to a 13-5 lead due to her swift on-court movement. Her drops and smashes also found the opponent’s floor as she sealed the contest on her second matchpoint.

Overall, the 25-year-old Saina took home 42 of 71 points played in the match.

Next up, she will be up against old foe and former World Champion Yihan Wang of China, who has a 9-3 record against the Indian girl. However, it is Saina who came out on top in the two meetings they have had this year.