Saina Nehwal beats He Bingjiao, reaches Indonesia Masters finalJanuary 26, 2019
Indian ace Saina Nehwal grinded her way to first final of the season with a combative win over China’s He Bingjiao at the USD 350,000 Indonesia Masters badminton tournament on Saturday.
The 28-year-old Indian, who was a runner-up here last year, notched up a 18-21 21-12 21-18 win over sixth seed Bingjiao, a world championship bronze medallist.
Eighth seed Saina will now face either Spain’s three-time World Champion and reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin or China’s Chen Yufei, seeded third, in the women’s singles summit clash of the World Tour Super 500 event.
In their first ever meeting in international circuit, Saina showed better court coverage and unleashed some telling smashes to trouble the 21-year-old left-hander.
Saina lagged 0-2 initially but clawed back to 5-5 with a couple of smashes. Another powerful straight smash left the Chinese stranded as the Indian led 8-6. She then went into the break with a 11-7 advantage.
The Hyderabadi continued the good run after the breather to lead 16-11 but netted twice to allow Bingjiao narrow down the equation to 15-16.
A brilliant cross court smash and a superb drop helped the Chinese keep the deficit to a point till 17-18.
She earned the lead at 17-16 with yet another smash to let out a scream. Bingjiao went to net again and hit wide next as Saina celebrated with fist pumps.
The Indian grabbed two match points after punishing her rival for a mistake and sealed it with yet another precise return.
Saina had won a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, a bronze at the Asian Games, besides reaching finals at the Denmark, Indonesia Masters and Syed Modi International last year.