Saina satisfied with her game despite loss

"I think the difference was just some points here and there but last two points she hit close to the line. That made the difference," Saina said after the match.

Saina Nehwal lost a thrilling match to reigning Olympic champion Li Xuerui.   -  PTI

Saina Nehwal regretted the last two points in the decider that cost her the semifinal against Olympic champion Li Xuerui. But the Indian ace said she is satisfied with the way she played during the India Open after recovering from a nagging ankle injury.

The 26-year-old Indian suffered her 11th loss to former World No. 1 Li of China in 13 meetings, going down 20-22 21-17 19-21 in the women’s singles semifinals here.

“I think the difference was just some points here and there but last two points she hit close to the line. That made the difference. She is playing quite close to the line that is why she is winning matches. I made silly errors. I left a line call. I played well. There was no problem with the way I played,” she told reporters.

“I beat Hyun Sung Ji and Nitchaon Jindapol. I could see I was moving pretty well. Against Li last time it was a straight game at China Super Series. This time three games, I could have won the first game though.

“I am analysing better. But because of the injury, the match practice is less. You need to play with them more. When you come out of injury and play against such tough opponents, you feel everything is new. So that is what is happening. I played two tournaments and I was good but here I was better,” Saina said.

Leading 19-18 in the decider, Saina’s return went long, which helped Li make it 19-19 and then the Chinese came with a line-kissing slice to grab a match point. She sealed it after Saina failed to negotiate the serve.

Asked about the match, Saina said: “I had big leads but she came back. She was picking up everything, she was maintaining good rallies and hit some good shots to the line.

“I can remember the last two points which were crucial in the last game. My service, which went to the net, and a lift that went behind… Those two were not required. She played those points with a lot of confidence.

“I should have won the first game at 20-19. Obviously such matches give lot of confidence but also it can be irritating to miss out. I am good but I know I can be much better. I was not happy yesterday. I took three games yesterday. Today I could have won the first game.”