New Delhi: Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal notched up a stunning straight-game victory over world number three Xin Wang in the last Group B match of the BWF Super Series Finals at Liuzhou in China on Friday.
World number four Saina, who has already qualified for the semifinals, beat Xin 21-17 22-20 in 39 minutes to top Group B. She will take on Tine Baun of Denmark in the semifinal on Saturday.
The Indian is now just one step away from becoming the first Indian singles player to reach the summit clash of the Super Series Finals.
Jwala Gutta and V Diju are the only other Indians to have achieved the feat when the mixed doubles pair reached the finals in the 2009 edition of the tournament before losing to Christinna Pedersen and Joaquim Nielsen.
Trailing 4-8 at one point in the first game, Saina reeled off seven straight points to go past Xin and wrest the lead at 16-12 and held her ground to pocket the game.
In the second game, Saina opened up a 9-2 lead and moved to 17-11 but the Chinese was not the one to give without a fight as she first caught up with the Indian at 19-19 and then registered one more point to lead 20-19.
However, Saina was unfazed as she registered three straight points to shut the door on the Chinese.
With this win, Saina has improved her record against Xin, beating her twice this year even though the Chinese have defeated the Indian four times overall.
Despite the loss, Xin Wang also made it to the semifinals and she will take on compatriot world number one Yihan Wang in the other last-four stage match on Saturday.