Saina a step away from three titles in three weeks


Jakarta: India’s Saina Nehwal continued her irresistible form to be a step away from winning three titles in three weeks. The top Indian shuttler reached the final of the Indonesia Open Super Series Saturday with a crushing 21-9, 21-10 victory over Eriko Hirose of Japan here Saturday.

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Saina won the Indian Open Grand Prix and Singapore Open Super Series in the last two weeks which saw her gain three places in the rankings to World no. 3.

Saina, who is the defending champion and the top seed in the tournament, will Sunday take on another Japanese Sayaka Sato, who beat Indonesian qualifier Ana Rovita 22-20, 21-17, in the title clash Sunday.

Saina has defeated Sayaka in the finals of the World junior badminton championship in Pune in 2008.

The Japanese, however, is in great form in the championship upsetting two seeded players enroute final. Sayaka took out third seed Zhou Mi of Hong Kong in the first round, and then showed the door to seventh seeded Pui Yin Yip, also from Hong Kong, in the quarterfinal.

Saina was given a tough fight by eighth seeded Russian Ella Diehl in the quarterfinal where the Indian fought back from a game-down to win the match.

Saina, however, was at her dominating best against Hirose and won in just 25 minutes. After racing to a 6-0 lead in the first game, she never looked back and consolidated the lead to 13-7 before going 1-0 up.

She carried the momentum in the second game and from 4-2 Saina pocketed five points in a row to open up a huge 9-2 lead. Hirose had no answers to Saina’s smashes and net play and b