The Indian to meet third-seeded Shixian Wang in the title clash
Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal fought her way to the Hong Kong Super Series final with a gruelling three-game victory over sixth seed Juliane Schenk of Germany in Wanchai on Saturday.
The second seeded Indian registered a 21-19, 17-21, 21-12 win over Schenk in a 53-minute women's singles semifinal match.
20-year-old Saina will lock horns with third seed Shixian Wang of China in the summit clash on Sunday. Wang beat top seed and compatriot Xin Wang 21-12, 21-14 in the other semifinal match.
In a battle of nerves, Saina was trailing 8-12 but the Indian won four straight points to first catch up with the German and then level 17-17 before marching ahead to pocket the first game.
But the girl from Hyderabad couldn't hold on to the lead in the second game and from 5-5, Schenk bounced back into the match.
In the decider, Saina gave no chance to her rival and opened a 6-1 lead before surging ahead to 11-3 and 19-9 before wrapping up the match.
“The final will be a tough match because Shixian is in good form. It has been a fantastic year for Saina and will have to see how she plays tomorrow. She has been very consistent and have done well in bigger events and am happy overall,” National coach and Saina's mentor Pullela Gopi Chand said.
“She missed out of at least five Super Series this year because the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games were more important events but it also means that she missed out of some events which otherwise could have taken her to the No. 1 spot. But it doesn't matter, what matters is number of wins,” he added.
Saina registered three back-to-back titles this year, winning the Indian Open, Singapore Open and defending the Indonesian Open.
But the icing on the cake for her was the Commonwealth Games gold medal.
In the Asian Games last month, Saina, however, lost in the quarterfinals to Pui Yin Yip of Hong Kong. But, she didn't take much time to take her revenge as she beat Pui Yin Yip in straight games in the quarterfinal of the Hong Kong Open to reach the semifinals.
“It is good that she didn't take much time to recover from that loss,” Gopi Chand said.
The results (semifinals):
Men: Singles: 1-Lee Chong Wei bt 8-Nguyen Tien Minh (Vie) 21- 14, 21-17; 3-Taufik Hidayat bt 7-Chen Long 15-21, 21-11, 21-19.
Women: Singles: 3-Wang Shixian 1-Wang Xin 21-13, 21-14; 2-Saina Nehwal bt 6-Juliane Schenk 21-19, 17- 21, 21-12.
Keywords: Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open