Sibu (Malaysia), Jan 20: Indian star shuttler Saina Nehwal entered the semi-finals of the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold with a triumph over Indonesian Fitriani Fitriani, while Ajay Jayaram lost to unseeded Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in the quarter-finals here on Friday (Jan 20).
Top seed Saina took 40 minutes to move past eighth seed Fitriani 21-15, 21-14. However, another Indian contender, sixth seed Jayaram suffered a 13-21, 8-21 setback to unfancied Ginting to make it a mix day for India.
Saina struggled at the beginning of her match against Fitriani, with the latter jumping to a 4-0 lead which later became 11-6 at the two-minute halfway break.
A revitalised Saina made a strong comeback after the break and it was evident the way she displayed aggressive play. Three consecutive points helped her reduce the gap to 9-11 and after Fitriani got a point, Saina was again back to her best, earning points one after other.
She equalised at 12-point mark before at the 14-all, she punched ahead, hardly allowing any points to the Indonesian.
In the second game, Saina continued her good work and held an 11-6 advantage and even though Fitriani tried to close in on Saina till 12-13, the experienced Indian ran away with the game, winning at 21-14.
In the semi-final on Saturday, Saina will face Yui Pui Yin, who went past Malaysian Ying Ying Lee 21-18, 21-16.
Meanwhile, Jayaram had a harrowing day as he struggled throughout during his match against Ginting. The Indonesian ran away to an 11-6 lead but Jayaram fought back to reduce the gap to two at 10-12. But Ginting looked sharper and powerful on the day and won the first game 21-13.
The second game could hardly begin for the Indian as Ginting was at it from the beginning, dominating the game. At 11-4 for Ginting, the writing was on the wall for Jayaram and the formalities ended at 21-8 for the Indonesian.
Ginting will contest with Hong Kong's NG Ka Long Angus for a place in the title round, while the other semi-final will be fought between Tommy Sugiarto and Lee Hyun.