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Saina Nehwal signs off as runner-up in World Super Series

Liuzhou, Dec 19 (): India’s Saina Nehwal won the first set and gained an early advantage but then she lost control as she went down to World No.1 Wang Yihan in the summit clash to sign off as runner-up in the BWF season-ending World Super Series Finals held in Liuzhou, China.

With this win, Yihan kept her 100 per cent record against Saina intact, having now beaten her in all their four face-offs so far.

In the first game, leading 11-8, Saina failed to judge the sharp drops from Yihan who mixed her shots very well to deceive the Indian and narrow the gap.

A long rally which ended with Yihan hitting the shuttle out gave Saina a 19-16 lead. But Saina hit one out to hand the service over to Yihan and the Chinese made good use of it to narrow it down to 18-19.

Good netplay coupled with some precise cross-court shots gave Saina a game point and she made it count by pushing Yihan to yet another unforced error, stunning the home fans into silence.

There was never a dull moment in the second game too as they fought a see-saw battle and moved neck and neck. Saina’s anticipation was good but Yihan’s accuracy again made the Indian’s life difficult. At 5-7, Saina involved Yihan in a long rally and earned a point with her trademark body smash.

A stunning rally and some brilliant retrieves helped Saina to once again level at 11-11. Yihan pinned Saina to the baseline and led 15-11 with the Indian hitting wide.

As Saina faltered with her return shots and succumbed to unforced errors, Yihan widened the lead to 18-11. Though Saina earned two quick points, she hit outside again to give Yihan the game point at 20-13 and the Chinese did not waste any time to roar back into the contest at 21-13.

Back on the winning side of the court, Saina’s brush with unforced errors allowed Yihan to lead 3-0. Though Saina earned a couple of points, Yihan still led 6-3.

Yihan started dominating the proceedings and dictated the pace of the game and with a few sharp cross-court drops and angled smashes moved to 9-3.

Unforced errors proved to be Saina’s bane as Yihan earned some more points to 17-8. Saina  gained a couple of points but with her return shots finding the net, Yihan moved to 18-11 before closing it with a smash.

This is Yihan’s sixth title of the year, which includes the World Championships crown. For Saina, this is her third finish as runners-up.