Gritty Saina enters Australian Open final
Sydney: Saina Nehwal stands just a win away from clinching her second title of the year after she stunned world number two and top seed Chinese Shixian Wang in a gruelling three- game semifinal contest of the $ 750,000 Star Australian Open Super Series here on Saturday.
Sixth- seeded Saina prevailed 21- 19 16- 21 21- 15 in a marathon match, which lasted an hour and 16 minutes.
“Beat world number 2 wang shixian in a tough 3 game match. Through to the final of the Australian Open super se- ries!” tweeted the Indian after recording her fifth overall win against the Chinese nemesis, which took their head- to- head record to 5- 3.
In the opening game, it was 19- 19 before Saina broke away to seal the issue in her favour. Wang roared back in the second game and they were even till the 16th point but Wang broke off from that point to draw level with Saina.
However, Saina proved in the final battle of attrition and won the deciding third game rather comprehensively at the Quicken Loans National in Washington. Atwal got a spot into the event courtesy his close friend Tiger Woods, who hosts the tournament each year. The tournament is an invitational event with a prize purse of USD 6.5 million and has a field of 120 players. Gaganjeet Bhullar was the lone Indian to make the cut from among the four in fray, carding a two- under 70 in the second round of the BMW International Open in Koln, Germany. Bhullar, who had a superb 67 on first day, has a two- day total of seven- under and was tied for 29th after 36 holes. Meanwhile, Jeev Milkha Singh ( 71- 70) and Anirban Lahiri ( 68- 73) missed the cut by a shot with a total of three- under 141. Goan Sports Association ( GSA) struck top form to hand Sports Authority of India ‘ B’ a 4- 0 defeat in a Third Division encounter of the MHAL League at the MHAL Stadium, Churchgate on Saturday. Stopwatch: GSA 4 ( M Lokhande 2, A Kumar 3, B Kumar) bt Sports Authority of India ‘ B’ 0; Air India Western Region 1 ( A Kamble) bt Coorg XI 0 Unseeded Mihir Patekar stunned fifth seed Harsh Maniar to enter the youth boys’ quarterfinals, in the District Ranking Table Tennis Tournament, at the Juhu Vile Parle Gymkhana on Saturday. Patekar rallied from 2- 3 to clinch a 4- 3 thriller that led to a day of struggle for the favourites.
( Clockwise from left) David Beckham, Bobby Charlton and Sachin Tendulkar at the Royal Box on Centre Court before the start of the men’s singles match between Rafael Nadal and Mikhail Kukushkin on Saturday
Saina Nehwai in action against Wang Shixian on Saturday