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Gritty Saina bows out

Kuala Lumpur: Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal played her heart out but eventually ran out of steam against world number six Chen Wang of Hong Kong losing in an edge-of-the-seat semi-final of the World Super Series Masters final here on Saturday.

The world number 10 Indian, drained after playing non-stop for the past two days, used every trick in her book but couldn’t match the experience of her third seed opponent going down 21-15, 14-21, 16-21.

Saina conceded that fatigue was evident in her performance on Saturday.

“My match ended very late last night and I was kind of exhausted after that and this tiredness reflected in today’s match. In the last game I could not carry on with the long rallies which eventually cost me the match,” Saina said.

However, the youngster was not disappointed with her performance, saying that she gave her 100 per cent to match her fancied rival shot for shot.

“It was not that she was playing too well and I was not able to match up with her. In the first game I had the lead all through. In the second, she bounced back and held the lead and by the third game we both were very tired.

“She had some good back hand half smashes, which helped her to gather three or four crucial points. In the third game, she was in the lead at 14-9 but I played some good strokes and reduced it to 13-14 but then a few mistakes on my part helped her wrap up the match,” she said.

Eighteen-year-old Saina raised hopes of an upset when she held her lead right from the start to pocket the first game 21-15. However, she could not maintain the tempo in the next two games.

The third game was a cliffhanger and the two rivals fought tooth and nail. (PTI)

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