Birmingham: Star Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal’s dream of winning her maiden All England Championship went up in smoke as the Indian suffered a straight-game defeat to world number eight Intanon Ratchanok of Thailand in the semifinals of the women’s singles competition on Saturday.

The world number three Indian went down 15-21 19-21 to the young and dynamic Intanon in a 40-minute match at the National Indoor Arena. This is the third time Saina has lost to Intanon. She was beaten at the Sudirman Cup in 2011 and also at the Super Series Final last year.

The 18-year-old Intanon mixed the strokes and used her drops and tosses to fluommox Saina. The Thai girl had better control over her strokes and controlled the rallies with her varying pace to make it difficult to come back in the match after pocketing the first game at 21-15.

In the second game, Saina had open up a narrow 5-3 lead but the Thai girl used her accurate placing and varied stroke to reel off five straight points to move ahead 8-5. Inthanon kept doing the good work to lead 18-14. But she hit a couple of points wide to allow to narrow the gap. An error of judgement gave Intanon two match point. Saina saved one with a smash but she faltered at the nets next to gave the Thai a place at the finals.

The court coverage of Inatanon was fantastic as she used the court really well to go up 6-4 in the first game. The more experienced Saina however levelled the scores at 6-6 and the match went on even keel. What hurt Saina more was her error in judgement as she let go a lot of shots anticipating that it will be going out.

The 18-year-old Thai girl was certainly a far more superior player on the day. There were quick smashes and those deceptive drop shots at the net which the Olympic bronze medalist didn't have any answer.


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