Saina, Srikanth reach semis of Australian Open

The seventh seeded Saina overcame the 2013 World Champion Ratchanok Intanon 28-26 21-16 in 56 minutes. Meanwhile, world number 13 Kidambi Srikanth disposed Korea’s Kwang Hee Heo 21-18 21-17 in 36 minutes.

After an early setback, Kidambi Srikanth turned the tableson Korea's Kwang Hee to advance to the semifinals.   -  Nagara Gopal

Saina Nehwal dug deep for a fighting win over Ratchanok Intanon while Kidambi Srikanth continued his good run to make the semifinals of the Australian Open Super Series here today.

The seventh seeded Saina overcame the 2013 World Champion Ratchanok 28-26 21-16 in 56 minutes. Saina will next take on the winner of the match between fourth seed Wang Yihan and eighth seed Tai Tzu Ying.

In an extraordinarily long first game, Saina held on to her nerves despite Ratchanok playing brilliantly. Every time Saina grabbed a lead, Ratchanok came up with a cross court dribble or a disguised drop or an acute angled smash to be in contention. But in the end, Saina emerged on top, riding on a net error by the second seeded Thai.

In the second game, Saina dominated the proceedings and raced to 15-8. By now, Ratchanok’s game dimmed and she failed to reach for the returns. At 20-13, she managed to stave off the Indian’s victory scoring three straight points before Saina’s smash closed the tie.

In the men’s singles, world number 13 Srikanth disposed Korea’s Kwang Hee Heo 21-18 21-17 in 36 minutes. He will next take on Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus tomorrow. The Indian beat him twice last year while losing once at the 2014 French Open.

Srikanth lagged at 9-14 but soon turned the tables to grab the opening game. In the second, he was more dominating speeding to a 11-6 lead. Even though the Korean caught up to make it 12-12 and 16-16, the Indian managed to see him off.

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