Glasgow: Saina Nehwal on Saturday settled for a bronze medal as her impressive run at the World Championship came to an end after a heart-breaking loss against Rio Olympics bronze medallist Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in the women’s singles semifinals.
Nehwal, who had won a silver medal two years ago at Jakarta, gave everything in a battle of attrition but Okuhara’s never-say-die attitude helped her to outmanoeuvre the Indian in an energy-sapping semifinal clash at the Emirates Arena. After battling for an hour and 14 minutes, it was the World No. 12 Japanese who managed to eke out a come-from-behind 12-21 21-17 21-10 win over the Indian to become the first shuttler from her country to reach the finals of World Championship.
“It was disappointing to have lost the match despite being a game up. But overall I am happy that I made it to the semis after recently coming out of an injury. I gave it my best and I am pleased with that," Nehwal said after the match. “She (Okuhara) started winning long rallies after the first game and that was the main reason for her to make a comeback into the match," she added.
Okuhara, on the other hand, said she was happy to have beaten a “great opponent". “When I was struggling today I thought back to the last match against Marin and that got me playing much better. I do not want to stop at the final, I want to win gold," said the Japanese. It turned out to be a battle of attrition between Nehwal and Okuhara. The two players have met seven times so far in international badminton with Nehwal having an upper hand in six of those battles.