Korea Open: Okuhara saves four match points to end Saina's campaign

Nozomi Okuhara saved four match points to defeat Saina Nehwal 15-21, 21-15, 22-20 in the quarterfinals of Korea Open on Friday.

Saina Nehwal exited the Korea Open with a loss to Nozomi Okuhara in the quarterfinals.   -  PTI

Nozomi Okuhara saved four match points to end Saina Nehwal's campaign at the Korea Open on Friday. Down 16-20, the 2017 World Champion reeled off six successive points to defeat Saina Nehwal 15-21, 21-15, 22-20 in the quarterfinals of the BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament. The contest lasted 59 minutes.

As it Happened

With Saina's exit, Indian challenge has ended in the USD 600,000 prize money tournament in Seoul.

Sameer Verma and Vaishnavi Reddy, the other two Indians in the main draw, had lost their respective opening round matches to bow out of competition.

Saina went into the match enjoying a 6-3 head-to-head tally against Okuhara, but had lost her previous two clashes against the Japanese. On Friday, the wind seemed to drift in Saina's favour. She played confidently won the first game comfortably.

But Okuhara came back strongly to capture the second game with a similar scoreline.

The third game saw Saina surging to a 15-10 lead, but Okuhara, who clearly performs well under pressure, rose to the challenge and set up bridging the deficit.  She had, after all, a favourable third-game statistic to maintain against the Indian. But Saina held on for a 20-16 advantage and match firmly within grasp.

Okuhura, the fighter that she is, kept attacking relentlessly and forced Saina to commit errors. She went on to save four match points and set up a semifinal clash with compatriot Akane Yamaguchi.