Former world number one Saina Nehwal beats Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi in straight games by 21-15, 21-17 in the women’s singles event of the ongoing Denmark Open 2018 on Thursday. With this victory, Saina has stormed into the quarterfinals of the BWF Super 750 event in Odense. This is a big win for Saina keeping in mind the fact that it is her second victory over the Japanese star in eight attempts. Also Read - Pullela Gopichand Urges BWF to Make 'Radical Changes' in Format to Restart Badminton in Post-COVID-World
Saina dominated the contest right from the start and didn’t took her foot off the pedestal against lightning-quick Yamaguchi. After starting off well against unassuming Japanese, the India shuttler calmly took control of the proceedings in the first game. She answered all the queries asked by Yamaguchi through her wide array of strokes. Also Read - PV Sindhu Urges Former Indian Players to Step up to Handle Paucity of Foreign Coaches
The second game was a closely contested one between both the shuttlers as Yamaguchi kept pressing hard against Saina. The Japanese led by 11-7 at the break in the 2nd game but the Indian was quick to found her mojo back and made the world number two pay for her mistakes. Eventually, the Indian ace sealed the match in straight games by 21-15, 21-17.
Earlier, Saina rallied to carve out a hard-fought victory in her opening encounter against Hong Kong’s Ngan Yi Cheung on Tuesday. The Indian won a gruelling three-setter 20-22, 21-17 and 24-22 that lasted 81 minutes. In a tense match, Saina had to endure a stiff challenge from Cheyung, who she last played back in 2016 and went on to lose that match.
The see-saw battle was a thriller down to the last point with the Indian saving two match points at 21-20 and 22-21 in the final game to emerge triumphant and move ahead.
Saina was also guilty of frittering away a match point of her own when she led 20-19 in the final game. For Sindhu, this was the third consecutive time that she lost to Zhang. The American shuttler defeated Sindhu in the Indian Open final in February earlier this year.