London, Aug 3 (IBNS/SIFY):The difference in quality between a world No. 1 and a world No. 4 was brutally exposed at the Wembley Arena on Friday morning.
Chinese top seed Wang Yihan outclassed India’s Saina Nehwal 21-13, 2-13 in a semifinal clash of the London Olympics badminton competition. Saina can still win the bronze medal on Saturday.
Saina’s game was riddled with unforced errors as the taller Chinese girl showed superior court craft to get the better of the Indian girl on Court No. 1. Like Thursday, Saina received tremendous support from the stands but chants of “Jai Ho” and “India is the best” could not spur Gopichand’s prodigy in a match that lasted 41 minutes.
“I was just not able to play my game today. May be I was too tense and did not recover from yesterday’s match,” Saina said in an exclusive courtside chat, the effects of losing a rather one-sided match quite evident on her face.
Wang was always at an advantageous position in the match. Saina started on an aggressive note but made several errors in judging the lengths of Wang’s long flicks to the third court. Plus the Chinese found enough space on either side of the court to win some wonderful points.
After taking an 11-6 lead in the first game, Wang sealed the match reeling off another five points in-a-row to go up 18-9. A couple of loose returns enabled the Chinese to clinch the game easily.
"I made some mistakes in the first set and my coach warned me about these. In the beginning of the first set I was nervous and there were some problems in my strategy,” Wang admitted after the match.
Wang reduced her percentage of errors in the second game but Saina still managed to win points with clever net play and some powerful smashes on the flanks.
She led 11-10 at the break but the Chinese came out stronger reeling off points at will. Saina seemed to have given up towards the final stages and threw in the towel much to the disappointment of the Indian fans who turned up early on Friday morning.
"Because I won the first there was more pressure on Saina and I still had confidence so I believed I could win," Wang said, adding: "After winning this match I have more confidence for the next stage. Every match is not easy to get through because every player puts in all their effort to play against me. It was difficult to get to this stage."