Paris: India’s badminton ace Saina Nehwal stormed into the quarterfinals of World Badminton Championships. She beat 13th seeded Ella Diehl of Russia 21-14, 21-18 in a sheer display of her unmatched talent.
Going into the tournament as the strongest threat to Chinese shuttlers’ dominance, Nehwal kept her cool in the high intensity match. Her opponent of the third round, Ella Diehl had beaten Malaysian Mew Choo Wong but Saina proved to be the better player on the occasion.
But minutes before the start of Saina`s match, world number one and top seed Yihan Wang of China was stunned byJapan`s Eriko Hirose in a three-game thriller that lasted an hour fifteen minutes. Hirose won 20-22, 21-16, 21-18.
However, Saina did not show any nerves today nor did she carry forward the sluggishness that marked her match against Chinese Taipei`s Chen in the second round.
The Indian was aggressive from the start and knowing that her opponent Diehl liked long rallies kept the pace slow and killed the game in mid court.
Within minutes of the start Saina was off to a 10-5 lead as Diehl made errors at the net.
Saina`s main weapon, the drop shot, was again used to good effect as thrice in a row the Russian could not pick up the shuttle as it dropped inches off the net on her side.
At 18-14, Nehwal reeled off three points in a row, forcing an error at the net from Diehl to win the opening game 21-14.
In the second game, Saina again started off winning five consecutive points on her serve before Diehl won her opening point on a net error by the Indian.
Both the players were a little more wary as the Russian tried to force the pace with a combination of drop shots and high tosses.
At 6-6, it seemed that the game would be tough and hard fought, but changed her strategy and played mid court more often and avoided net play till she had a lead of 15-10.
When it almost seemed that the game would go in Saina`s favour, the Russian made a last ditch effort and equalized with some smart net play at 17-17.
But Saina`s got her composure back to take the lead at 20-18 and finally pocketed the match when Diehl sent the shuttle across the side line.
Saina will next take on the winner of the match between sixth seed Chinese Shixian Wang and 11th seed Jie Yao of the Netherlands.