London Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal’s ordinary season continues as the Indian shuttler was knocked out in the quarter-final of French Open Super 750 tournament by Korean teenager An Se Young on Friday in Paris.
Saina Nehwal had headed to Paris on the back of 3 successive 1st-round exits. Injury concerns coupled with dip in form saw Saina struggle to reach the business end of tournaments on the tour since her title-winning run at Indonesia Masters in January.
However, there were signs of improvement when Saina Nehwal started the ongoing Super 750 tournament in France with 2 relative comfortable wins. The 7th seed had beaten Cheung Ngan Yi of Hong Kong and Liane Kjaersfeldt of Denmark in straight games before setting up a quarter-final clash with the highly-rated An Se Young.
An Se Young needed just 49 minutes to defeat Saina Nehwal 20-22, 21-23 and progress to the semi-final. Notably, the 17-year-old from Korea had knocked out PV Sindhu in the 2nd round of Denmark Open earlier this month.
Young started on the right note by taking a 2-point lead in the mid-game interval of the the 1st game. However, Saina came up with a determined attempt to close out the gap. The Indian shuttler had a game point at 20-10 but Young held her nerves and won the 1st game 22-20.
In the 2nd game, Saina Nehwal put up a strong fight despite trailing 13-18 at one point in the game. Saina saved 2 match points but it wasn’t enough as Young showcased tremendous tenacity to take the game 23-21 and reach her 1st semi-final at a Super 750 tournament on the tour.