Asiad 2018: Saina loses semi-final, settles for bronze  

India’s first individual medal in badminton at the Asiad games in 36 years was brought in by Saina Nehwal. PV Sindhu is also assured of a medal after progressing to the finals. 

IANS/PTI

Ace India shuttler Saina Nehwal had to settle for the bronze after suffering her 10th straight defeat to Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the women's singles semifinals of the 18th Asian Games. The 28-year-old Indian lost 17-21, 14-21 to World No.1 Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan.

Saina's bronze so far is the first individual badminton medal at the Asiad for India in 36 years. However, PV Sindhu is also assured of a medal after progressing to the finals by beating Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi in the semifinals.

Saina again fought back to level the scores at 6-6 and went into the break trailing 10-11. The issue went 15-14 in Tai’s favour before the Taiwanese once again dominated the final few moments to seal the game 21-14 in her favour

In a close fought match, Saina trailed 0-3 in the first game before making a comeback to draw at 10-10. However, her opponent took five consecutive points to take a 15-10 lead. Putting up a good fight yet again, Saina reduced the deficit to 15-16 but the Taiwan shuttler denied the Indian any further onslaught as she wrapped up the 19-minute affair 21-17. In the second game, Tai once again raced to a 4-1 lead and some unforced errors from Saina helped her to increase her lead to 6-2.

Saina again fought back to level the scores at 6-6 and went into the break trailing 10-11. The issue went 15-14 in Tai's favour before the Taiwanese once again dominated the final few moments to seal the game 21-14 in her favour.

Both Saina and Tzu Ying attacked each other's backhand but it was the Chinese Taipei player who scored more points. She raced to a 4-1 lead in the opening game. Saina changed her strategy a bit by hitting more deep returns and then looked for drop shots. It worked for her and soon it was 8-8. Tzu Ying though kept spraying smashes on Saina's backhand and took the first break with a narrow 11-10 lead. The Chinese Taipei shuttler took four straight points to zoom to a 15-10 cushion, leaving Saina to play the catch up game. Tactically sound and supremely fit Tzu Ying retrieved almost everything thrown at her. Tzu Ying hit a smash on Saina's backhand to grab her first game point and converted it when the Indian sailed over the baseline.

Coming into this match, Saina had lost her last nine matches against Tzu Ying, including three in the 2018 season.

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