Saina Nehwal

Sibu (Malaysia), Jan 20 (IANS) Indian star shuttler Saina Nehwal entered the semi-finals of the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold with a triumph over Indonesian Fitriani Fitriani, while Ajay Jayaram lost to unseeded Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in the quarter-finals here on Friday.

Top seed Saina took 40 minutes to move past eighth seed Fitriani 21-15, 21-14. However, another Indian contender, sixth seed Jayaram suffered a 13-21, 8-21 setback to unfancied Ginting to make it a mix day for India.

Saina struggled at the beginning of her match against Fitriani, with the latter jumping to a 4-0 lead which later became 11-6 at the two-minute halfway break.

A revitalised Saina made a strong comeback after the break and it was evident the way she displayed aggressive play. Three consecutive points helped her reduce the gap to 9-11 and after Fitriani got a point, Saina was again back to her best, earning points one after other.

She equalised at 12-point mark before at the 14-all, she punched ahead, hardly allowing any points to the Indonesian.

In the second game, Saina continued her good work and held an 11-6 advantage and even though Fitriani tried to close in on Saina till 12-13, the experienced Indian ran away with the game, winning at 21-14.

In the semi-final on Saturday, Saina will face Yui Pui Yin, who went past Malaysian Ying Ying Lee 21-18, 21-16.

Meanwhile, Jayaram had a harrowing day as he struggled throughout during his match against Ginting. The Indonesian ran away to an 11-6 lead but Jayaram fought back to reduce the gap to two at 10-12. But Ginting looked sharper and powerful on the day and won the first game 21-13.

The second game could hardly begin for the Indian as Ginting was at it from the beginning, dominating the game. At 11-4 for Ginting, the writing was on the wall for Jayaram and the formalities ended at 21-8 for the Indonesian.

Ginting will contest with Hong Kong’s NG Ka Long Angus for a place in the title round, while the other semi-final will be fought between Tommy Sugiarto and Lee Hyun.

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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