Jakarta: Saina Nehwal won one of the biggest matches of her career with a 25-23 21-19 win over China’s Lu Lan in the semifinals of the Indonesia Open to enter her first Super Series final. Saina will play another Chinese, Wang Lin, in the final. The victory on Saturday makes a milestone in Saina’s career, for it is her first win over a top-level Chinese since her defeat of World Champion Zhu Lin at the China Masters last year. Lu Lan is a former winner of the Korea Open and the Denmark Super Series, and a finalist at the 2008 All England.
A delighted Harvir Singh, Saina’s father, told DNA: “She called me before the match and I told her not to think of her opponent, but just to leave the result to God. She had lost to Lu Lan at the Swiss Open, so I told her not to think of that, but just to play her best.”
The match was tight all the way. From 11-all it was neck-and-neck until 17. Saina jumped three points ahead to hold game point but Lu Lan equalised. The Indian went ahead 21-20 but the Chinese again levelled, and got a game point of her own. The Indian finally won it at 25-23.
The Chinese shot ahead in the second game with leads of 7-3 and 13-9. However, the Indian caught up at 13 and then went into the lead at 19-17. Lu equalled at 19 but the Indian was not to be denied the last two points and a historic entry into a Super Series final. If she can pull it off over her opponent and third seed Wang Lin, it will be the biggest result of her career, even higher than her 2006 Philippines Open victory.
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