Olympic bronze medal winning shuttler Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth reached their respective singles finals of the $700,000 China Open Super Series Premier on Saturday.
While women's World No.5 Saina defeated Chinese Liu Xin 21-17, 21-17 in 47 minutes, men's World No.16 Srikanth advanced after Germany's World No.25 Marc Zwiebler retired when the score read 21-11, 13-7 in favour of the Indian at the Haixia Olympic Sport Center.
Saina, who entered her second Super Series final of 2014 after clinching the Australian Open in June, will now face Japanese World No.35 Akane Yamaguchi. The Japanese upset South Korean fifth seed Yeon Ju Bae 21-10, 25-23 in the other semifinal to set up her first ever match against the sixth seeded Saina.
Saina took time to get into her rhythm and Liu looked better at the start, taking a 7-4 lead to pressurise the Indian briefly.
However, the 24-year-old Hyderabadi began to control the proceedings and equalised at 11-all. Saina went on to earn points regularly despite tough competition from the Chinese World No.17. Liu conceded more points and taking advantage of that, Saina clinched the game in no time.
In the second game, it was a neck-and-neck contest till the 9-point mark before Saina bagged a 12-9 lead. Liu raised her game and managed to equalise at 14-all, also taking a two-point lead (16-14).
But Saina sent a flurry of cross-court smashes to grab a six-point lead and seal the game in her favour. With this win, Saina took a 2-0 lead in career meetings between the two.
Later, Zwiebler struggled as the 21-year-old Kidambi comfortably won the first game 21-11.
However, the German retired from the second game with the score reading 13-7 in favour of Srikanth, who entered his first Super Series final. He had also won the 2013 Open Thailand Grand Prix Gold.
In the final, Srikanth will face five-time World Champion Lin Dan, who beat Chou Tien Chen 21-17, 21-17 in the other semifinal.