Sai Praneeth reaches final; Saina Nehwal crashes out of Thailand Open

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TITLE-CONTENDERS Saina Nehwal and B Sai Praneeth advanced to prequarter-finals of the Thailand Open after notching up straight-game wins in the women's and men's singles competition respectively, here on Wednesday. Saina survived a scare when she lost the second game and fought back to win the tie 21-15, 20-22, 21-11 in an hour and nine minutes. Earlier, Sai Praneeth beat world No. 71 Pannawit Thongnuam 21-11, 21-15 to reach the final.

Saina made her task hard by committing a large number of unforced errors in the second game of her match.

Second seed Saina outclassed Ying Ying Lee of Malaysia 21-11 21-14 in a 40-minute match to set up a clash with Japanese qualifier Haruko Suzuki. The third seeded Indian will now face Thailand's Kantaphon Wangcharoen on Friday.

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A couple of decisive drop shots from the Thai girl gave her the edge to eventually equalise at 18-all when Busanan won the next three points to advance to the final where she will take on former World Champion and compatriot Ratchanok Intanon. Sai Praneeth, though, was determined to not take the match into the decider and found legs to clinch the next seven points and take a 10-3 lead. However, Haruko managed to make a comeback in the second game but Praneeth made sure that he does not let the game slip from his hands. Saina wrote on her twitter handle after the win.

Both players have met thrice in the past, and the ace Indian shuttler has won all of those matches.

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