HYDERABAD (TIP): After her second straight loss Saina Nehwal is on the brink of elimination from the BWF World Super Series Finals in Shenzhen (China).
Saina was outplayed by Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand 13- 21, 16-21 in her Group B second round robin league match on Thursday. The only hope for Saina is if Tine Baun – who lost to Juliane Schenk on Thursday 21-14, 16-21, 8-21 – loses to Ratchanok on Friday and Saina defeats Juliane in her last Group B match. In that case, Ratchanok will top Group B and qualify for the semifinals and the player with a better game average (difference between total number of games won and lost) among the other three will advance to the next stage.
Saina was listless on Thursday, probably not having fully recovered from the shock loss against Tine on Wednesday. The 22-year-old, who enjoyed a 4-1 career record against the Thai teen before that contest, never looked to be in the game. Ratchanok started with a 7-2 lead in the first game and did not look back.
Trialing 4-14, Saina came up with an eight-point burst but failed to maintain the tempo as Ratchanok hit back with six successive points from 15-13 to wrap up the game. Saina looked better in the second game and even she caught up with Ratchanok at 6-6. However, Ratchanok, who is known for her unorthodox strokes, notched up five straight points from 16-16 to leave Saina shattered.