It's a dream come true: Saina Nehwal
TSI CORRESPONDENT | London, August 2, 2012 21:27
Saina Nehwal | London Olympics | semifinal berth | world No-1 | Wang Yihan | Tine Baun |
Saina Nehwal saved three game points in the second game on her way to a London Olympics semifinal berth against world No-1 Wang Yihan at the Wembley Arena on Thursday. Seeded No. 4 in the ladies singles competition, Saina defeated Denmark’s Tine Baun 21-15, 22-20 in a terse contest that last 39 minutes.
“I have never lost to her in the last couple of years, but this was the toughest match I have played so far. She gave me a real tough work out before tomorrow’s semifinal,” Saina said in an exclusive interview.
Saina had entered the quarterfinals in the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
“I was waiting for this day and I am just two matches away from a medal. It seems like a dream to be actually on court with a smiling face because Tine is a very dangerous customer and was tough to beat in the second game,” Saina said.
The Indian champion was overtaken by emotions and slumped to her knees after she clinched the second game 22-20. It was fabulous story of grit and determination as Saina clawed her way back from 17-20 and won five points on-the-trot to shut out the taller and stronger Danish girl.
Saina will now clash with seed No-1 Wang on Friday. The Chinese girl scored a 21-14, 21-11 win against Chinese Taipei’s Shao Chieh Cheng.
Playing on Court No. 2, Saina had an easy opening game. She was up 9-3 at one stage and always had a five-point cushion throughout the contest. Saina played some exciting shots on both sides of the court whereas Tine made unforced errors, often catching the net on Saina’s returns.
Game No. 2 was a see-saw battle. The players were level 10-10 and then Saina again played catch up, levelling at 15-15. Tine shifted gears and looked in great position to win but Saina staged a heroic comeback to steal the show.