Saina Nehwal
Saina Nehwal is yet to hit top gear in the Macau Open.IANS

Saina Nehwal, following her knee surgery in August, has not been able to produce the kind of performances, which badminton fans all over the world had got used to seeing from her. The Indian shuttler might have reached the quarterfinals of the Macau Open, but she had to survive another scare against Dinar Diyah Ayustine, who tested the former world number one. 

Like in her first match at Macau Open, where she had to come from one set down to clinch the match, Saina had to pull all her reserves in the second round of the competition as well. She won the match 17-21, 21-18, 21-12. 

The first game of the second round started on a tight note, with both shuttlers playing some good badminton, not giving away freebies, making the clash interesting. Though Saina increased her lead to 12-8, she could not hold on to that as Dinar came back strongly and the Indian shuttler was outplayed in the final moments of the game.

Saina lost 17-21, hence there was a serious need for her to win the second game and take the match to the decider. Saina looked much more comfortable as she opened up a huge lead of 12-4, but like in the first game, the Indonesian came back with some brilliant shuttle play to make it 18-18. At one point, one thought Saina would lose the match in straight games, but she held her nerve to win 21-18.

With both players desperate to reach the last eight of the competition, they were involved in some good shuttle play at the net as well as the baseline in the final game. Saina went into the third game mid-break with 11-9 lead, but she was aware of the need to be strong and not allow Dinar easy points in the final stages.

Saina looked calm and composed, increasing that lead to 16-10 with some quality shots. She finally clinched the game 21-12 to win the match and move into the quarterfinals of the Macau Open 2016.

Also read