P V Sindhu survived a scare before making the semifinals but Saina Nehwal was thoroughly outplayed in her straight-game quarterfinal loss on a mixed day for India at the Singapore Open badminton tournament on Friday. Rio Games silver-winner Sindhu defeated world No.18 and 2017 BWF World Junior Championship bronze-medallist Cai Yanyan of China 21-13 17-21 21-14 to set up a meeting with former world champion Nozomi Okuhara. Also Read - Thailand Open: Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth Enter Second Round
It is Sindhu’s second semifinal of the season, following a last-four finish at the India Open last month. The second-seeded Okuhara, hailing from Japan, didn’t break much sweat on her way to a 21-8 21-13 win over sixth seed Saina, a bronze-medallist at the London Olympics. Sindhu broke off at 5-5 in the opening game to earn the bragging rights but her Chinese rival came back strongly in the second game, opening up a lead of 11-6 at the break. Also Read - Saina Nehwal, HS Prannoy Cleared to Participate in Thailand Open After BAI's Intervention
The Indian fought back superbly to narrow the lead to 15-16 before Cai marched ahead to take the match to the decider. In the third game, Sindhu once again found her bearings and surged to a lead of 11-5 before the interval. The Indian continued to move ahead and closed out the match comfortably in the end. Also Read - Saina Nehwal, HS Prannoy Withdraw From Thailand Open After Testing Positive For Coronavirus
In contrast, Saina, who had defeated Okuhara in their last three meetings and also enjoyed a 9-4 advantage ahead of this clash, fell apart against the Japanese in a lop-sided clash.
Okuhara jumped to a 9-0 lead, a gap which Saina failed to breach, collecting only eight points in the first game.
In the second, Saina rose to 4-0 but Okuhara clawed back at 6-6 and then turned the tables, reaching 11-8 at the breather.
The Japanese then moved ahead at 12-11 and didn’t look back.