Nehwal shocked, Intanon advances

Third seed Saina Nehwal was knocked out of the Malaysia Open semi-finals on Saturday, but fourth seed Ratchanok Intanon booked her place in the final.

The Indian superstar met her match in the shape of Tai Tzu Ying, with the shuttler from Chinese Taipei winning 21-19, 21-13 in just 34 minutes.

The 2013 world champion Intanon sealed her place in Sunday’s final with a 21-11, 21-19 over China’s former world number one, Wang Yihan, in 43 minutes.

Nehwal simply had no answer to the precision game of her unseeded opponent who won this event back in 2013.

The first game proved to be something of a procession, despite the relatively close scoreline. Tzu Ying opened up a 7-0 lead early on, and maintained that advantage right until the end of the game, leading 20-14, before Nehwal mounted an ultimately fruitless comeback.

The second game was a much closer affair, with the lead changing hands every other point, with no player leading by more than two point at any stage, until Tzu Ying pulled away with the score on 11-10.

Intanon’s match against the Chinese sixth seed followed much the same pattern, with the three-time world junior champion racing to a 5-0 lead before seeing out the opener without fuss.

Wang responded well to going behind and dominated the early stages of the second game, leading 4-0, 8-3 and 11-7 before her Indonesian opponent came back at her.

With the scores tied at 14-all, it seemed that Intanon had weathered the storm, but the Olympic silver medalist had other ideas and once again opened up a healthy 19-15 lead.

That was as good as it got for the 28-year-old, though, as the player seven years her junior won the next six points and with that, secured her spot in Sunday’s final.