Saina Nehwal storms into World Badminton Championship final; assured of silver medal

Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal

New Delhi, Aug 15: Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal created history by defeating Lindaweni Fanetri 21-17, 21-17, to reach her maiden final of the Badminton World Championship in Jakarta on Saturday.

Saina will face World No.1 and defending champion Carolina Marin of Spain in the Final on Sunday.

Fanetri, who was the local favourite, was playing the match with a niggling injury which did not reflect in her game and put up a tough fight against Saina.

In a repeat to this year’s All England Championship final, second seed Saina will fight it out with defending champion and World No. 1 Carolina Marin of Spain in the summit clash.

It would be India’s fifth medal at the World Championship after P V Sindhu clinched the bronze twice in 2013 and 2014 and Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa notched up a bronze in women’s doubles at the 2011 edition.

Legendary shuttler Prakash Padukone was the first Indian to win a bronze at the 1983 edition.

It turned out to be a tight match as Saina and Lindaweni, who was playing with a strapping on her right knee, engaged in long rallies and gave each other a tough fight at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.

Lindaweni opened up a 6-2 lead early on in the first game as Saina tried to get a hang of the drift in the stadium. The Indonesian had to take some tips from the team doctor after feeling some pain in her knee at 7-6.

The Indonesian looked restricted in her movement as Saina clawed back at 9-9 and grabbed the lead next when Lindaweni hit wide. A service fault helped Lindaweni to level score at 10-10 but Saina went into the break with a 11-10 lead after winning a long rally.

After the interval, Saina increased the gap to 15-12 but the Indian committed a few unforced errors to allow Lindaweni draw parity at 15-15. A net fault and a wide shot by the Indonesian gave Saina a 18-16 lead.

Earlier on Friday, Saina beat her nemesis, Wand Yihan of China, 21-15, 19-21, 21-19 to gain her maiden entry into the Worlds semi-finals.

(With Agency Inputs)

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