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Rediff.com  » Sports » Malaysian Super Series: Saina in QF

Malaysian Super Series: Saina in QF

January 08, 2009 16:05 IST

Saina Nehwal staved off the challenge from Hsiao Huan Chen of Chinese Taipei in an edge-of-the-seat second round match to enter the quarter-final of the Malaysian Super Series in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

Saina wins opener | Resolves to break into top five

World number 10 Saina beat Chen 21-16, 19-21, 21-19 in a thrilling battle that lasted 48 minutes.

In the quarterfinal, Saina will face Hongyan Pi of France whom she had defeated in the round-robin league of World Super Series Masters Finals last month.

In the first game, Saina did not give any chance to her opponent and opened up a 13-9 lead and although Chen tried to draw level, Saina gradually moved on to 17-13 before wrapping the game 21-16.

Stung by the reversal, Chen rallied to open an 8-6 lead in the second game and then moved to 11-8. Even though Saina drew level at 12-12, the Chinese Taipei shuttler turned the table and pocketed and the game 21-19 to stay afloat. 

With the match positioned 1-1, the third game was a virtual cliffhanger with Chen Chen wresting early initiative and taking a three-point lead at 12-9. 

Pushed to the brink, Saina, a quarterfinalist in the Beijing Olympics, battled her heart out, drawing level at 12-12 and going neck-and-neck at 14-14, 16-16 and 18-18. 

Levelled at 19-all, the 18-year-old Indian broke free and grabbed the next two points to seal the game. 

However, there was disappointment in the mixed doubles match as the Indian pair of V Diju and Jwala Gutta was sent packing 21-18, 21-14 by local pair Kien Keat Koo and Hui Lin Ng in the second round.

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