Saina Nehwal’s impressive run at the Malaysia Masters came to an end following her straight-game loss to reigning Olympic and world champion Carolina Marin of Spain in the women’s singles semifinals on Saturday. The 28-year-old Indian, who had won the title in 2017 and was a runners-up in the 2011 edition, went down 16-21 13-21 to fourth seed Marin in a 40-minute match to bring an end to India’s campaign at the first World Tour Super 500 tournament of the season.
Tied 5-5 ahead of the clash, Saina had made a good start to the match leading 5-2 at the start but an aggressive Marin reeled off seven straight points to turn the tables before grabbing a 11-9 lead at the break.
The Spaniard extended it to 13-9 before Saina clawed back at 14-14. However, Marin produced a determined effort to reach the game points after gathering six points on the trot.
She easily sealed the first game in 20 minutes with a measured return at the Indian’s fore court.
In the second game, Marin was more dominant as she surged to a 6-1 lead early on and kept her stranglehold at the interval with an 11-6 advantage.
Saina tried to make a comeback but Marin was always a step ahead. The Spaniard slowly created a huge gap which the Indian failed to bridge.
Marin eventually grabbed eight match points with a cross-court smash. Saina saved one with a deep corner smash which Marin failed to connect but the left-handed shuttler produced a straight return next to seal the issue in her favour.
(With PTI Inputs)