Saina Nehwal in semis of Super Series Finals
In the semi-final, Saina faces her old foe, top seed and reigning Olympic champion of China Li Xuerui
Shenzhen: Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal reached the semi-finals of the $500,000 BWF World Super Series Finals after beating German Juliane Schenk in her women's singles Group B match here on Friday.
After losing both her matches in the group of four, Saina qualified for the last four on the basis of having lost less number of games in comparison to Swiss Tine Baun and Schenk, both of whom having won a match each. The Indian came second in her group behind Thai Ratchanok Itanon, who won all three group matches.
After the second round of matches on Thursday, the World No.3 Indian was lying fourth and last in the group and her chances of qualifying for the year-ender looked bleak but one good match against the German helped her enter the semis.
This will be Saina's, seeded four in the tournament, third semi-final in the Finals having reached the semis in 2008 and the final last year, when she suffered a heartbreaking defeat against World No.1 Yihan Wang.
In Friday's match at the China Resources Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre, the Hyderabadi won her eighth, and third straight, match out of 11 meetings against the German second seed.
The London Olympics bronze medallist dominated the first game winning 21 of 28 points played. The fourth seed stayed in the lead throughout the match. From 15-7, Saina picked up six consecutive points to clinch the game.
The second game, however, was a close and topsy-turvy one with neither player giving away too big a lead and it looked as the game could be anybody's. Saina's smashes helping her aided her play and at the crucial juncture of 18-all, the World No.3 bagged the three most important points, winning the game and match to make herself eligible for the next round.
In the semi-final, Saina faces her old foe, top seed and reigning Olympic champion of China Li Xuerui. The Hyderabadi has a 2-4 head-to-head against the Chinese. In the other semi-final, Chinese third seed Shixian Wang takes on Ratchanok.