Jakarta, August 27: Top Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal on Monday (August 27) had to be content with a bronze after suffering her 10th straight defeat to world number one Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the women's singles semifinals of the Asian Games 2018.
PV Sindhu, meanwhile, made it to the final after she beat World No 2 Akane Yamaguchi 21-17, 15-21, 21-10. Sindhu's entry to the final meant that she became the first Indian woman shuttler to make it to the final of the individual event at the Asian Games.
World number 10 Saina played with intensity but lost 17-21, 14-21 to Tzu Ying, who stood out with her court coverage and retrieving in the 36-minute match.
Coming into this match, Saina had lost her last nine matches against Tzu Ying, including three in the 2018 season. Both Saina and Tzu Ying attacked each other's backhand but it was the Chinese Taipei player who scored more points. She raced to a 4-1 lead in the opening game.
Trust @NSaina to make us proud and script history!— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 27, 2018
Her Bronze in the #AsianGames2018 is the first ever medal for India in the women's singles Badminton category.
India congratulates our star badminton player for yet another success. pic.twitter.com/zifupmwsr0
Saina changed her strategy a bit by hitting more deep returns and then looked for drop shots. It worked for her and soon it was 8-8. Tzu Ying though kept spraying smashes on Saina's backhand and took the first break with a narrow 11-10 lead.
The Chinese Taipei shuttler took four straight points to zoom to a 15-10 cushion, leaving Saina to play the catch up game. Tactically sound and supremely fit Tzu Ying retrieved almost everything thrown at her.
At 19-16, Tzu Ying hit another smash on Saina's backhand to grab her first game point and converted it when the Indian sailed over the baseline.
A gallant display from #SainaNehwal— BAI Media (@BAI_Media) August 27, 2018
Played with a true spirit of a champion though she suffered an unfortunate loss to Tai Tzu, Finishes her campaign with a 🥉, commemorating her best outing so far in an Asiad. #AsianGames2018 #IndiaontheRise🇮🇳💪👊 pic.twitter.com/k4e1G7vFEj
In the second game also, Saina was again playing the catch up game. Tzu Ying never looked like losing control though Saina tried hard to breach her rival's defense.
Saina led for the first time in the match when Tzu Ying left a shuttle and it fell in at 12-12. A net chord also helped Saina take a point but Tzu Ying reclaimed lead on an unforced error from Saina. Tzu Ying cruised to win from there with Saina sending a backhand wide.