Alor Setar: World No.4 Saina Nehwal continued to blitz through the Malaysia Open GP Gold, scoring a morale-boosting win over close rival and world champion Wang Lin of China in the quarterfinals. The top-seeded Indian beat Wang in a tight three setter, 14-21 21-19 21-19.
“God helped me recover fast from my injury,” said Saina, referring to her less-than-peak fitness that saw her first-round exit at the India Open. “It gives me immense satisfaction to beat the world champion.”
Saina will next take on Sung Ji Hyun of Korea in the semifinals. Sung caused another upset for China, with a thrilling win over third seed Jiang Yanjiao.
The Chinese world champion, who was off the circuit for six months owing to an injury, had to go through qualifying. She overwhelmed the Indian in the first game, but the second was a tight, neck-and-neck battle until 15-all. Saina jumped ahead 18-15, and kept her nose ahead to force a decider.
In the third, Wang Lin remained ahead throughout, and even had a 18-14 lead. To her credit, Saina refused to give up, caught up at 18, and edged ahead for the win.
World No.2 Wang Xin progressed to the semis in the bottom half of the draw.
In the men’s singles, top seed Lee Chong Wei was untroubled in a 21-17 21-8 win over Frenchman Brice Leverdez, and will face Japan’s Sho Sasaki in the semis. In the other semis, Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh takes on China’s Bao Chunlai.
MS: 1-Lee Chong Wei bt Brice Leverdez 21-17 21-8; 11-Sho Sasaki bt 6-Park Sung Hwan 12-21 21-8 21-16; 3-Nguyen Tien Minh bt Sony DK 21-18 5-1 retd; 7-Bao Chunlai bt Lee Hyun Il 21-18 13-21 21-9
WS: 1-Saina Nehwal bt Q-Wang Lin 14-21 21-19 21-19; 7-Sung Ji Hyun bt 3-Jiang Yanjiao 25-23 13-21 21-18; 4-Bae Youn Joo bt Aprilia Yuswandari 21-16 21-10; 2-Wang Xin bt Ai Goto 23-21 21-16
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