Another stupendous performance saw defending champion Saina Nehwal enter the women’s singles final of the $700,000 China Open Superseries Premier with a win over local girl and former world champion Yihan Wang Fuzhu on Saturday.
The top seed needed just 42 minutes to ease past the former world No.1 Chinese 21-13, 21-18 at the Haixia Olympic Sports Center. This is Saina’s third consecutive victory against the reigning Asian Games gold medallist, all coming in 2015, bettering her record to 4-9.
Also, this is World No.2 Saina’s fifth final of the year. She won two at the India Open Super Series and India Grand Prix Gold but lost the All-England and World Championships final to World No.1 Carolina Marin of Spain.
In the summit clash, the Hyderabadi will take on another Chinese, reigning Olympic champion Li Xuerui, who has a domineering 9-2 record against Saina, also having won the last five encounters between them. Saina’s last victory against Xuerui came in 2012 but this year Saina has been a force to reckon with.
The 25-year-old Saina was easily the superior player on court against Yihan. Her agility, movement, speed and shots just could not be matched by the Olympic silver medallist. Eventually, Saina clinched 42 of the 73 points played in the match.
The top seeded Indian was by far the better player in the first game though Yihan kept at her heels. But from 14-13, Saina kept taking points to earn as many as seven straight points to kitty the game.
Yihan came out with a much stronger challenge in the second game, fighting for each point. She upped her game at the net and won many more points than in the first game.
Saina was put under pressure by her opponent and the Chinese crowd who was behind her but she kept her nerve to lose only one point from 17-all to pocket the game and enter the final.