Jakarta: Defending champion Saina Nehwal overcame an opening game deficit to reach the semifinal of the Indonesian Open badminton tournament and stay on course for back-to-back Super Series title here on Friday.
Saina, who on Thursday jumped three spots to third in world rankings after winning the Singapore Super Series, looked rusty against Ella Diehl of Russia in the first game and was doing the catch up job from the start before losing it 17-21.
The top seeded Indian, however, shrugged off the initial rustiness and stamped her authority over her opponent in the next two games by using to telling effect her superiority in smashes and long rallies.
Saina and the eight seeded Russian were neck-and-neck at 5-4 before the Indian pressed the accelerator in the second to take it 21-11.
In the decider, Saina took a straightaway 6-0 lead and though the Russian reduced the gap 13-10, the Indian ran away with the game 21-16 and the match in 58 minutes.
In the semifinal tomorrow, Saina will meet fourth seeded Eriko Hirose of Japan who beat fifth seeded Jie Yao of the Netherlands 21-19 10-21 22-20 in another quarterfinal match.
Saina is the only Indian women left in the fray insingles as compatriot Aditi Mutatkar had crashed out in the first round.
In the men`s section, no Indian is left in the fray with Ajay Jayaram, Chetan Anand and Parupalli Kashyap and Gurusaidatt RM Venkata already out of the singles competition.