CWG: Saina powers India to badminton mixed team finals

Saina Nehwal was at her ruthless best as she helped India enter badminton mixed team event finals with a 3-1 win over Singapore.

Saina Nehwal won her singles match to help India beat Singapore in semis.   -  PTI

India entered the mixed team final with a comprehensive 3-1 win over Singapore in the semifinals of the XXI Commonwealth Games at the Carrara sports arena 2 here on Sunday. It was sweet revenge for the Indians four years after they were denied a medal by Singapore in Glasgow.

The two sides had met in the losers’ final four years ago after having lost to England and Malaysia in the semifinals, but in a hard-fought tie, India was defeated 3-2. This morning, there was no let up by the power-packed Indian side as it coasted to the final.

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India will take on Malaysia, a 3-0 winner over England in the second semifinal.

Singapore could only dent India's perfectly unbeaten run in the tourney. This came about when India was 2-0 up; India's mixed doubles pair of Satwik Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa had won the opening tie of the rubber and K. Srikanth had registered a win in the men’s singles.

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Satwik and Ashwini proved to be in great form; they overcame the challenge from Yong Kai Terry Hee and Jia Ying Crystal Wong 22-20, 21-18 after 42 minutes of play. Srikanth was again impressive as he had the measure of Kean Yew Loh 21-17, 21-14.

Unexpected defeat

The unexpected defeat arrived in the men's doubles clash; the pair of Satwik and Chirag Chandrasekhar Shetty allowed their rivals Yong Kai Terry Hee and Danny Bawa Chrisnanta to stage a comeback and take the tie 17-21, 21-19, 21-12.

It was left to Saina Nehwal to wrap things up. This she did extremely well, displaying all her experience and craft on the court, defeating Jia Min Yeo 21-8, 21-15 in just a little over half an hour to a final berth for her country.

The results

Mixed team (semifinals): India bt Singapore 3-1 (Satwik Rankireddy/Ashwini Ponnappa bt Yong Kai Terry Hee/Jia Ying Crystal Wong 22-20, 2-18; Kidambi Srikanth bt Kean Yew Loh 21-17, 21-14;
Satwik Rankireddy/Chirag Chandrasekhar Shetty lost Ying Kai Terry Hee/Danny Bawa Chrisnanta 2-17, 19-21, 12-21; Saina Nehwal bt Jia Min Yeo 21-8, 21-5).