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Saina Nehwal battles into Thailand Open semis

04 June 2017

Indian badminton stars Saina Nehwal and B. Sai Praneeth will today play their semi-final matches of the Thailand Open in Bangkok. He will next face either Indonesia's Panji Ahmad Maulana or ninth seeded Malaysian Iskandar Zulkarnain.

Saina, who is playing her first tournament since her first round exit at the Asian Championships in April, got off to a brilliant start winning the first three points of the first game.

In their only meeting before today's match, Praneeth had outplayed Wangcharoen 18-21, 21-14, 21-15 at the Indonesian Masters a year ago. Against Ongbamrungphan, the former world No 1 lost 19-21 18-21 in a closely-fought tie that lasted 53 minutes. The World No. 11 Saina will now take on Thailand's fourth seeded World No. 13 Busanan Ongbumrungpan on Saturday for a place in the final.

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Thongnuam came out fighting in the second game and though Praneeth eked out a narrow 6-4 lead, the home favourite levelled things up at 6-6.

Thongnuam closed the gap at 10-all and it remained a tight contest till 14-15 when Sai Praneeth won the next seven points to clinch the match and extend his career record to 2-0 against the World No.71. With the score at 15-15, it was Japanese who took the initiative and took a two point lead but it was short-lived as the Indian leveled things up at 17 all. Saina wrote on her twitter handle after the win.

Saina Nehwal battles into Thailand Open semis