Sarawak, Jan 20: Top seed Saina Nehwal advanced to the semifinals of the USD 120,000 Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament here on Friday.
In the quarter finals, former World No 1 beat eighth seed Indonesia’s Fitriani Fitriani in straight games 21-15, 21-14 in a 40-minute contest. This was the Saina’s third win over the World No. 40.
Saina was slow to get off the mark as Indonesian quickly raced to a 4-0 lead. The Indian was trailing 6-11 at the interval. However, she soon started gathering points after the break and caught up with Fitriani at 12-12. Saina soon jumped to a 16-14 lead and then won five straight points to seal the opening game.
In the second game, Saina continued with her dominating show as she took a 4-2 lead early on and then jumped to a 9-5 advantage before entering the breather at 11-6. Yin gave a fightback after the interval and narrowed down the gap to 12-13 but Saina soon marched ahead and pocket the match.
The London Olympics bronze medalist will face Hong Kong’s Yip Pui Yin in the semifinals.
In the men’s singles, World No. 19 Ajay Jayaram found the going tough against Indonesia’s Anthony Sinisuka Ginting, who beat the sixth seeded Indian 21-13 21-8 in just 28 minutes.
This was Indian’s third defeat to the Ginting, having lost to him at Hyderabad Asia Team Championship and French Open as well.