India’s top shuttler Saina Nehwal was in perfect shape when she outclassed Pi Hongyan in Women’s Singles round-of-16 and secured her place into quarter-final of All England Open Premier Super Series 2012 at Birmingham, England, on Thursday, March 8.
The World Number Four Saina, who has been desperately looking to win a major title for the last one year, is one step closer to win her first All England Open crown.
In the pre-quarter-final contest, the fourth seed Saina showed her elevated class by playing flawless badminton and registered a comprehensive victory over her lower ranked French rival in just 34 minutes.
On the other hand, Hongyan found herself completely helpless against the power play of her higher ranked Indian opponent and lost the match in straight games.
Saina, who was working hard in training sessions for the last couple of months, showed a wonderful improvement in her play as she was quite comfortable in the court and managed a remarkable lead in the first half.
Until the break, the higher ranked Indian was moving miles ahead of her rival and took a wonderful lead of 11-3.
After the break, Saina continued her impressive run in the match without dropping her speed at any stage. She did not face any resistance from her lower ranked challenger in the entire set.
Hongyan could not live up to expectations as she had no answer to the fast and attacking play of her Indian opponent.
Saina bagged the opening set with a tremendous 21-10 score on the board.
In the second game, Hongyan played a little better as she geared up her speed but not enough to dominate the pace of rallies. Saina took over the control and set up an impressive gap of 11-6 until the break.
After the one-minute interval, Hongyan played to her maximum speed and remained successful in levelling the score at 11-11.
The score progressed closely until 15-15 when Saina changed her tactics and started to execute deceptive strokes. She broke the rhythm of her opponent and bagged the set with a 21-17 score on the board.
The higher ranked Indian won this 34-minute match in straight games with a comprehensive margin of 21-10 and 21-17.
In the quarter-final match, Saina will be up against China’s Li Xuerui who defeated Maria Febe Kusumastuti of Indonesia in another round-of-16 encounter.