Saina Nehwal storms into maiden India Open semifinal

New Delhi, PTI | Updated : 27 March 2015, 06:20 PM

Saina Nehwal sailed past Indonesia’s Hana Ramadhini to make her maiden semifinals at the India Open Super Series while giant-killer H S Prannoy and RMV Gurusaidutt went down fighting in the quarterfinals here.

Olympic bronze medallist Saina defeated Hana 21-15 21-12 in the women’s singles competition at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.

Prannoy, who had sent the top seed and world no 2 Jan Jorgensen of Denmark packing out of the tournament, conjured up hopes of another upset before falling short against world no. 6 Viktor Axelsen 21-16 9-21 18-21 in a 58-minute contest.

Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, Guru, had started the proceedings for India and despite playing a compact game initially, he too ran out of ideas to go down 21-15 18-21 13-21 to China’s Xue Song.

After plotting an early exit for Jorgensen, Prannoy was up against yet another Dane. He used his backhand and powerful smashes to dominate the first game but Viktor came back strongly in the second and didn’t allow the Indian to play his game. Prannoy faltered with his down the line smashes which went wide and long as the Dane roared back into the contest.

In the decider, Prannoy committed too many unforced errors as Viktor took a 11-6 lead with a smash. The Dane faltered in the nets and also had a service fault which allowed the Indian to gather a few points. However, the Dane still managed a five-point lead reaching 19-14.

Prannoy tried his bit and saved a few points but it was too late as Viktor closed out the match with a smash.

“I was making lot of mistakes on the sideways, smashes were not accurate and I was not patient on the court. I am not happy with my performance today,” Prannoy said.

Guru started on a positive note and led 11-8 in the opener. He troubled Song with his sharp angled strokes and dominated the rallies before earning the bragging rights when the Chinese hit the shuttle out.

In the second game too, Guru led 11-9 at the break but Song changed his tactics after the interval to open up a slender 14-12 lead. The duo fought hard to move 14-14 to 17-17 before the Chinese changed gears and bounced back.

In the decider, Guru once again was ahead 7-3 but Song ensured he went into the break with a narrow 11-10 lead. The Chinese started dominating the rallies and rode on Guru’s unforced errors and soon earned a seven match points when the Indian hit wide. Song then closed the door on the Indian at the next chance.

“I was dominating initially but then Song didn’t give me a chance to dribble and he started attacking. I took too long to realise, and could not switch to plan B,” said Guru.

First Published: Friday, March 27, 2015 06:17 PM
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