Fuzhou (China): Olympic bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal stood just one win away from clinching her maiden China Open title after she stormed into the finals of the USD 700,000 Super Series Premier tournament here on Saturday.
In her sixth appearance in the prestigious tournament, Saina continued her rampaging run as she produced another good show to outclass World No. 17 Liu Xin of China 21-17 21-17 in the women's singles semifinals that lasted 47 minutes at the Haixia Olympic Sport Center.
The World No. 5 Indian will take on the winner of match between fifth seed Bae Yeon Ju of Korea and Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, in the summit clash tomorrow.
Saina took time to get going initially as Liu opened up a slender 7-4 lead but the Indian soon clawed back and went into the interval with a narrow 11-10 lead. She came out all guns blazing after that to create a huge 19-13 gap. The Chinese girl reeled off four points to reduce the margin but the Indian soon pocketed the first game.
In the second game, Liu once again marched ahead 5-2 but Saina didn't take much time to draw level and entered the break with a two-point lead. Saina's angled strokes had Liu struggling but the Chinese kept herself in close range after the Indian stumbled on some unforced errors.
At 14-14, Saina hit long allowing Liu to take the lead. The Chinese then won an aggressive rally when Saina failed to connect and hit wide. However, Liu then fell pray to a series of unforced errors as Saina soon moved to a three-point cushion. Liu once again hit wide helping Saina clinch her place in the final.
The last time Saina reached the finals of a tournament was at the Australian Super Series, where she defeated Spain's Carolina Marin to win the title. The Indian had won the Syed Modi International Grand Prix gold early in the year.