Jakarta, June 5 (IANS) Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap entered the semi-finals but world No.3 Saina Nehwal crashed out, losing to China’s former world No.1 Shixian Wang in the quarter-finals of the $800,000 Indonesia Open Superseries Premier here on Friday.
While Commonwealth Games 2014 gold medallist Kashyap stunned China’s world No.1 and top seed Chen Long 14-21, 21-17, 21-14 in the quarter-finals, Olympic bronze medallist Saina went down 21-16, 12-21, 18-21 to world No.7 Shixian.
Second seed Saina, winner here in 2009, 2010 and 2012, got off to a great start, smashing with aggression at the Istora Gelora Bung Karno Stadium. The 25-year-old launched a fierce attack on the Chinese, winning five consecutive points to take a strong lead. The Hyderabadi won 21 points out of 37 played, thus going one up by 21-16.
Fifth seed Shixian, 2010 Asian Games champion, as always with a never-say-die attitude, came back strongly in the second game. She snatched six consecutive points and gave 2010 Commonwealth Games champion Saina very little to level things up 1-1 with a 21-12 victory.
The deciding game saw a nail-biting finish as both the shuttlers went all out at each other. Although Saina took the lead — at one point of time held a healthy 13-8 advantage – the formidable Chinese came back strongly, winning five consecutive points to equalise at the 15-point mark before sealing the game 21-18.
Shixian, bronze medallist in the 2010 World Championships, will next face Thailand’s former world champion and current world No.6 Ratchanok Intanon, who earlier crushed Indonesia’s Lindaweni Fanetri 21-7, 21-6 to enter the semis.
With this win, shixian, 25, took a 7-6 lead in career meetings over her Hyderabadi opponent.
In the other women’s singles semi-final, China’s former world champion Yihan Wang will face Japan’s Yui Hashimoto. While world No.8 Yihan defeated Japan’s world No.11 Akane Yamaguchi 14-21, 21-8, 21-9, Hashimoto battled past local qualifier Maria Febe Kusumastuti 16-21, 21-16, 22-20.
Earlier in the day, reigning world champion Chen began on a positive note against world No.12 Kashyap, winning seven consecutive points to clinch the first game 21-14 with ease.
But the Indian came back strongly to win three consecutive points to level things by taking the set 21-17, in what can be called a close encounter.
The deciding set saw Kashyap in full flow right from the word go, winning five consecutive points to take a healthy lead which made it difficult for the top seed to come back into the match.
By winning 21 points out of the 35 played, Kashyap sealed the game 21-14 and the match, thus booking his place in the semi-finals.
With this win, Kashyap also improved his head-to-head record against the Chinese to 2-7.