Badminton: Saina Nehwal breezes into semi-final of All England Open

Saina Nehwal cruised into the semi-final of the All England Open as she overpowered former world champion Wang Yihan of China - 21-19, 21-6. It was her first win over Yihan.

Saina's match lasted just 39 mins as she completely overpowered her Chinese opponent in the second game. She won 42 of the 67 points played and won 9 consecutive points to showcase her dominance. With the defeat of Wang Shixian, Saina is now the highest remaining seed in the draw. Saina will now face Sun Yu of China in the semis.

File picture of Saina Nehwal. AP

File picture of Saina Nehwal. AP

In the other semi-final, Carolina Marin [6], who beat Sung Ji Hyun [4] of Korea 21-18, 22-20, will clash with Tai Tzu Ying [7] of Chinese Taipei, who upset China's Wang Shixian [2] 21-18, 9-21, 21-19.

Olympic champion Lin Dan and world champion Chen Long will clash for the first time in nearly two years on Saturday after the Chinese greats reached the All-England Championship semi-finals.

Fifth-seeded Lin took nearly an hour to beat Kento Momota of Japan 21-18 21-19 while top seed Chen’s one-sided 21-11 21-11 victory over Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan took 47 minutes.

Lin’s victory means he is one match away from a ninth final appearance at the All-England event since 2004 as he bids for a sixth title, a record matched by only three other players.

“I adjusted my mentality really well and it was a calm and controlled performance,” said the 31-year-old.

After admitting being “rusty” during the early rounds, Lin had to be at his obdurate best against a quick-footed opponent.

At times Lin looked to be conserving energy, but he also had to stem a gritty comeback from Momota in the second game as the Japanese racked up four points in a row from 18-12 down.

“He played really quick so I had to try and prevent him from attacking,” said Lin. “I lost concentration a little but I stayed calm.”

Chen has never beaten Lin in their six meetings on the world tour since 2009 but the way he dismantled Chou, mixing a powerful array of forehand smashes with deft drops, suggests that record could be altered.

Lin remained coy on his highly-anticipated clash with Chen, the world number one. “It’s team mates again. I will try my best,” was all he would say.

In the women’s draw, Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand, who became the youngest world champion in 2013, had to retire after leaving her quarter-final in a wheelchair after suffering cramp.

The number eight seed, a finalist at the 2013 All England, looked certain to advance to the last four against Sun Yu of China after holding a sizeable lead in their decider.

However, Sun fought back from 11-5 down to lead 19-13 before Intanon fell awkwardly going for a backhand return. The Thai was forced to offer her hand and Sun advanced 11-21 21-19 19-13.

With inputs from Reuters

Updated Date: Mar 07, 2015 10:24 AM

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