Basel : Two-time defending champion and top seed Saina Nehwal of India was ousted by nemesis Shixian Wang of China in the women’s singles semifinal of the $125,000 Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold here.
The fourth seeded Shixian halted Saina’s journey to a consecutive third final by winning the match 21-11, 10-21, 21-9 in 50 minutes at St. Jakobshalle Saturday, denying the Indian to celebrate her 23rd birthday Sunday with the title.
Saina, who had beaten the Chinese last week in the quarterfinal of the All England Open Badminton Championships, however, still leads Shixian 4-2 in career meetings.
The Hyderabadi went into the match feeling confident, having beaten the former World No.1 the last four times. But her on-court form did not show that.
Saina was completely off the track in the first game allowing the World No.7 to take a huge 8-0 lead at the start from where she could never recuperate.
Known for her quick feet on the court, Saina was boggled by Chinese opponent, who had last beaten the top seed back in the 2010 World Championships.
Scripts changed hands in the second game as from 13-10 up, the defending champion notched eight straight points to take the game and level the match.
But Saina again let herself down in the third by making wrong line judgements and unforced errors.
Shixian led the game from the start and kept extending the lead, needing just one match-point to pull it off.
Surprisingly, there were no smash winners by either players considering that both heavily rely on smashes as most points were won at the net.
Shixian’s deft touches at the net proved to be the difference between the two.
Shixian will next will Thailand’s fifth seed Ratchanok Intanon in the final.
The hugely talented Ratchanok, who was a finalist at the All England Open, shoved aside Japanese Yui Hashimoto 19-21, 21-10, 21-13 in one hour and two minutes.