Praneeth enters final; Saina loses

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Title contenders Saina Nehwal and B. Sai Praneeth advanced to the quarter-finals of the $1,20,000 Thailand Open badminton tournament after notching up straight-game victories in the women's and men's singles competition respectively here on Thursday.

Praneeth defeated Thongnuam 21-11, 21-15 in just 36 minutes.

21-14, in his opening match that started past midnight, went down 14-21, 18-21 to second seeded Marc Zwiebler of Germany in the second round match, which took place in less than 12 hours of his first-round clash.

In their only meeting before today's match, Praneeth had outplayed Wangcharoen 18-21, 21-14, 21-15 at the Indonesian Masters past year. Christie beat Malaysia's Joo Ven Soong 21-9 21-18 in his semis match. After winning the first game easily, she was leading 11-6 in the second. She will now face fourth seed Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the semi-final. The Thai tried to stage a fightback in the second game but Praneeth was equal to the task, quickly reducing a three-point deficit.

It was a disappointing day for Saina because she had won a tough quarterfinal match on Friday.

Saina made her task hard by committing a large number of unforced errors in the second game of her match. With the score at 15-15, it was Japanese who took the initiative and took a two point lead but it was short-lived as the Indian leveled things up at 17 all.

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