After a largely disappointing and injury-curtailed 2016, India's badminton star has begin the new year with the Malaysian Masters title.
Her victory indicates that Saina is getting back to her best after her knee surgey and rehabilitation.
.@NSaina is champion in Malaysia!!! Wins 22-20, 22-20 against Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand!!! Proud to support you Saina!!!!🏸🥇🙂
Saina has raced to a 6-0 lead in second game of women's singles semi-final. She wants to end this early, it seems.
Saina wins 6 points in a row to win the first game of women's singles 21-13. The ace Indian shuttler is showing her class.
It's neck and neck in the first game of the women's singles. Saina leads 15-13. It looks like this match will go down to the wire.
Pui Yin leads Saina 11-9 at the interval in the first game of the women's singles semi-final.
Pui Yin leads 9-6 in the first game. Nothing much separates the two players still.
Pui Yin has built up an 8-5 lead in the first game. It is a real see-saw battle.
Pui Yin is catching up after losing the first few points and now it is 4-4 in the first game.
Pui Yin wins the first point against Saina in the women's singles semi-final, but the Indian ace comes right back and restores parity.
Saina Nehwal had a disappointing outing in the 2016 Rio Olympics, and playing with an injured knee, she lost to the much-lower ranked Maria Ulitina. She appeared in the China Open thereafter, losing out in the first round itself to Porntip Buranaprasertsuk. She, however, did better in the Hong Kong and Macau Opens later in the year, reaching the quarter-finals in both tournaments. She lost to Cheung Ngan Yi in Hong Kong and to Zhang Yiman in Macau. She subsequently said that she was not 100 percent fit for the Hong Kong and Macau events, but wanted to test herself against the top players of the world.
She then appeared in the Premier Badminton League (PBL), turning out for the Awadhe Warriors. Saina's semi-final clash against Rio silver medallist PV Sindhu was one of the matches of the tournament, and it went right down to the wire. Saina eventually lost, but not before enthralling the crowd. Saina beat World No 3 Ji Hyun Sung in the tournament, but was defeated by world and Olympic champion Carolina Marin.
Hello and welcome to Firstpost's live coverage of the high-octane semi-final between Saina Nehwal and Yip Pui Yin in the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold tournament in Sarawak, Malaysia on Saturday.
Semi-final report: Saina Nehwal thrashed Hong Kong's Yip Pui Yin in straight games to storm into the women's singles final of the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold on Saturday.
Saina Nehwal in action during her quarter-final clash in the ongoing Malaysia Masters. PTI
World No 30 Yip Pui Yin lost steam after going neck and neck till the break in the first game before World No 10 Saina used all her experience to take the match 21-13, 21-10 in just over 30 minutes.
The 26-year-old Indian started the first game taking a two-point lead before Pui Yin bounced back to take the lead 8-5 and further consolidated it to 11-9 in the breather.
Coming back, top seeded Saina picked her game up to overhaul the lead to 15-13 in her favour before taking full advantage of the many errors from Pui Yin to take six points in a row and pocket the first game 21-13.
In the second game, Saina kept her dominance and raced to a 6-0 lead before a sizzling cross court smash helped her to extend it to 11-5 in the break.
The 29-year-old Hong Kong shuttler tried her best to reduce the gap but still trailed 8-15 before losing track as Saina extended her lead to 18-10.
Saina then wasted no time in adding three more points to take the second game 21-13 and extend her head-to-head record against Pui Yin to 6-2.
In the final, Saina will take on unseeded Thailand teenager Pornpawee Chochuwong, who beat second seeded Hong Kong's Cheung Ngan Yi 21-19, 20-22, 21-18 in the other semi-final.