Published: Sun, June 04, 2017
Sports | By Phillip Butler

Thailand Open: Saina Nehwal bows out, Sai Praneeth cruises

Thailand Open: Saina Nehwal bows out, Sai Praneeth cruises

While Saina Nehwal faltered in the semifinals, compatriot B. Sai Praneeth progressed to the summit clash of the $120,000 Thailand Open Grand Prix on Saturday.

Sourabh, seeded 12th, survived a challenge from compatriot Anand Pawar 21-17, 20-22, 21-14 in men's singles event, while Sai Uttejitha Rao dished out a gallant fight to see off Indonesia's Jesica Muljati 13-21, 24-22, 27-25 in women's singles that lasted an hour and 16 minutes.

Second seeded Saina brushed aside Slovakia's Martina Repiska 21-5, 21-10 in the opening round to set up a clash with Malaysia's Ying Ying Lee in the next round. Thongnuam tried to attack in the second game but it made no effect on Sai as he was smart enough to mix his shots. In today's match, Praneeth started strongly and went into the first break with a four-point lead, paving the way for an easy win in the first game.

Saina and Praneeth are the only two Indians left in the tournament. From there on, he did not let his Thai opponent make a recovery and won the game comfortably.

The second game was a much closer contest as the duo shared the first 8 points equally, before Saina managed to get her nose ahead with the scoreboard reading 7-5. Loses 19-21, 18-21. Tough luck, champ. With no player ready to give an inch, it was Saina who brought up match point at 20-19 but it was Suzuki who won three consecutive points to level the match at a game apiece.

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