Alor Setar: Saina Nehwal lost her first final in a major international tournament when she ran into world No.2 Wang Xin of China in the summit clash of the Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold on Sunday. Saina, who had lost both her previous matches to Xin, failed to find a way out this time too, as Xin beat her 13-21 21-8 21-14.
Saina dominated proceedings from the start, shooting ahead from 3-all to take the game 21-13. Her attacking game, studded with eight smashes, seemed to overwhelm her Chinese opponent.
The second game was a complete reversal, though, as it was Saina who was at the receiving end. From 9-7, Xin shot ahead to 16-8, despite playing a relatively defensive game. The decider was tight – Xin had the initial advantage, but Saina fought back well to level things at 14-all. Inexplicably, she faltered again, and Xin stitched up the next seven points in a row to take the title.
“I made too many mistakes in the match, especially in the second game,” said Saina. “I was bothered by two line calls in the third game and paid the price. I should have kept my cool and it is a good lesson for me.
“This is the third time I’m losing to her but I thought I could beat here as I’m physically alright. My ankle is not a problem as it is taped up and I won’t use that as an excuse.
“In the second game, I was trailing 8-9 when she won seven points in a row, I took it easy as I wanted to take a breather and catch her in the decider but it nearly worked. We were level at 14-14 when I sent two crosscourt shots into the net. From there Wang Xin took advantage to run away with the title.”
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