Thailand Open: Saina out in semis, Praneeth makes final

Sai Praneeth sailed into the final with a straight-game victory but Saina Nehwal's campaign ended in the semifinals of the $1,20,000 Thailand Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament here on Saturday.

The third seeded Indian completely dominated the opening game. He will next face either Indonesia's Panji Ahmad Maulana or ninth seeded Malaysian Iskandar Zulkarnain.

Second seed Saina, who defeated Japan's Haruko Suzuki 21-15, 20-22, 21-11, will take on local girl Busanan Ongbumrungpan.

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It was a mixed day for Indian shuttlers in Bangkok. Sai Praneeth led from the start and it was only a matter of minutes before he closed the game in his favour. Christie beat Malaysia's Joo Ven Soong 21-9 21-18 in his semis match. After 14-15, however, it was Praneeth all the way as he won seven consecutive points to wrap up the game and the match.

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.

From 16-8 it went to 19-16, and at this stage it gave a bit of scare to the Indian fans but then it was them who had the last laugh. Thongnuam tried hard to take the fight to Praneeth in the second game, but the final outcome hardly looked in doubt. Nehwal's win means that three of the top four seeds in the women's singles draw have made it to the semis, with only Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon, seeded first, still left to play her quarter-final clash.


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