Saina lost to defending champion Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei, her eighth straight loss against the world number two.
Wuhan (China): Commonwealth Games gold medallist Saina Nehwal and world no. 10 H.S. Prannoy settled for bronze medals after losing in the Asia Badminton Championship semi-finals here on Saturday.
Saina could not get past defending champion Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei, losing 25-27, 19-21 in 45 nervy minutes, for her eighth straight loss against the world number two.
An error-prone Prannoy went down 16-21, 18-21 to Olympic champion China’s. Chen Long in 52 minutes. Saina had earlier this year lost to her nemesis at the Indonesia Open final and All England Championship but unlike those defeats, she put up a great fight on Saturday to underline her confidence after winning gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
It was Saina’s third Asian championship bronze medal, while Prannoy became the first Indian male shuttler to win a medal in the tournament since Anup Sridhar won bronze in 2007.
Tai Tzu went ahead 4-1 in the first game, going into the break leading 11-6. But Saina clawed back to 15-15, going ahead 18-17 for the first time in the game and then improving to 20-18. But Tai Tzu capitalised on a judgement error by Saina to level at 20-20 and then winning the opening game.
In the second game, Saina continued in the same vein, but Tai Tzu led 11-9 at the break. Saina went ahead at 18-17 and stayed up 19-18.
But a judgement error at the back line gave Tai Tzu two match points, swinging the match her way.
Tai Tzu meets China’s sixth seed Chen Yufei in the final. Home player Chen won 21-12, 21-13 over the South Korean seventh seed Sung Ji-hyun in the other semi-final clash.
In the men’s semi-final, Prannoy and Chen displayed great athleticism but Prannoy’s shots went wide too often to give Chen a 15-11 and 19-14 lead, grabbing the first game with a body smash. After the change of ends, Prannoy struggled to keep pace and trailed 6-11 at the breather, improving to 10-11 but it wasn’t enough.
Shock loss for Lee
Lee Chong Wei suffered a shock 19-21, 14-21 defeat in the semi-finals, the Malaysian great going down in straight sets to rising Japanese star the unseeded Kento Momota.
The 23-year-old Momota will play China’s Chen Long in Sunday’s final.