India’s ace shuttler Saina Nehwal produced a scintillating performance against Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand to reach the semifinal of the Indonesia Masters with a straight games victory. Saina beat Chochuwong 21-7, 21-18 in 33 minutes to enter Saturday’s semifinal. The win now takes Saina’s head-to-head record over the Thai to 4-0. Kidambi Srikanth and PV Sindhu are the two other Indians playing quarterfinals matches at the Indonesia Open later in the day.
In the semifinals, the 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist will face the winner of the quarterfinal match between Chen Xiaoxin and He Bingjiao, both of China. Saina enjoyed a good start and soon galloped to aan11-4 lead at the interval. The indian continued to dominate proceeding after the interval, moving in quick bursts of points to close out the opening game comfortably.
In the second game, Chochuwong ran to 8-4 lead but Saina caught up with her at 12-12 before going ahead and shut the door on her opponent.
In the men’s singles, India’s only hope Kidambi had to settle for a second quarterfinal finish after losing 18-21 19-21 to local hero and Asian Games champion Jonatan Christie.
Srikanth tried to put pressure on his rival but Jonatan was solid in his defence and with the Indian making errors, the Indonesian led 11-7 at the break. He caught up with Jonatan at 15-15 after making few good saves. The Indian then unleashed a straight smash to lead 17-16 for the first time in the match.
But Srikanth committed two many unforced errors and also made a misjudgment at the backline to hand over game points to the Indonesian who sealed it with a half smash.
Jonatan raced away to a 6-0 lead before a spinning net shot helped Srikanth to log first points in the second game. However, the Indonesian managed to lead 11-4 at the breather after Srikanth failed to reach a shot at the forecourt.
After the break, Jonatan maintained the lead to reach 15-8. The Indian grabbed three quick points but a weak return from the backline found the net. Srikanth reduced the deficit to 14-16 by pushing the shuttle at the back court.
Srikanth brought the equation down to 18-19 before Jonatan made an error of judgment at the backcourt.
But the Indonesian made amends immediately as he unleashed a smash to reach match points before grabbing the match with another return.
(With Agency Inputs)