Saina’s semis hopes hangs by a thread after second loss

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 12: Shuttler Saina Nehwal’s chances of advancing in the BWF World Superseries Finals dipped further here Thursday when she lost in straight games to World No.1 Li Xuerui of China for her second successive defeat in the group stage.

Saina, who had gone down against Japan’s Minatsu Mitani Wednesday, went down to the Olympic champion Xuerui 9-21, 14-21 in a Group B match lasting 27 minutes.

However, Korean Yeon Ju Bae kept the Indian’s mathematical chances of making the semifinals alive when she hammered Mitani 21-10, 21-18 in another match Thursday.

Saina will now have to beat Bae Friday and hope that Xuerui packs off Mitani to ensure a three-way tie for the second place.

The sixth-ranked player from Hyderabad is battling inconsistent form and has not won a title in 2013. She is the lone Indian playing in the elite event.

Saina failed to put up any fight against Xuerui, who now bettered her record against the Indian to 6-2. The Chinese had also beaten Saina in the previous edition of the tournament.

IANS