Saina Nehwal clinches first win over Wang Xin, but India outclassed by defending champions; Korea overcome Malaysia
Dev S Sukumar
India were handed a drubbing by top seeds China in the quarterfinals of the Sudirman Cup – the result was expected, but the one positive was that Saina Nehwal recorded her first win over world No.3 Wang Xin. The Chinese won 3-1 and progressed into the semifinals. Meanwhile, in another quarterfinal, Korea clinched a nerve-wracking win over Malaysia; the tie going into the final rubber, where Eun Ha Jung/ Kim Min Jung overcame a first set loss to beat Wong Pei Ty/ Chin Ei Hui 19-21 21-16 21-10.
The defending champions opened up with a win in the men’s doubles — Cai Yun/ Fu Haifeng were too good for Rupesh Kumar/ Sanave Thomas. Saina equaled the tie for India with a surprisingly easy 21-15 21-11 result over Wang Xin, but triple world champion Lin Dan breezed past Parupalli Kashyap, and then the women’s doubles team of Yu Yang/ Wang Xiaoli had it equally easy against Jwala Gutta/ Ashwini Ponnappa.
“I’m very surprised to have won so easily after losing my three previous meetings with her,” said Saina. “I lost to her at the beginning of the month at the Malaysia Open (Grand Prix Gold) but it was three close games which could have gone either way. It was 14-all in the decider when I lost focus due to two bad line calls and I blew it. Today, my movement was very good and I played the shuttle well. I knew I had a chance as our matches have always been close. I was very well prepared for this match and I’m glad to have clinched a point for India.”
Saina made light of her loss in the Thailand tie to Ratchanok Inthanon. “I know I lost to Ratchanok Inthanon (of Thailand) but that was because I had a tough match a day earlier (against Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying). I had a few more days to train now and I’m looking forward to going back to the world circuit after this.”
Results (Quarterfinals): China bt India 3-1 (Cai Yun/ Fu Haifeng bt Rupesh Kumar/ Sanave Thomas 21-15 21-14; Wang Xin lost to Saina Nehwal 21-15 21-11; Lin Dan bt P Kashyap 21-14 21-14; Wang Xiali/ Yu Yang bt Jwala Gutta/ Ashwini Ponnappa 21-8 21-13