Forty minutes is all reigning world champion Carolina Marin needed to overpower Saina Nehwal with her high-tempo game in the semi-final of Malaysia Masters in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
Marin won the 11th encounter on the BWF tour against Nehwal 21-16, 21-13. The Spaniard now leads the head-to-head 6-5.
In what was the first meeting between the two former world no 1 shuttlers since the World Championships quarter-final in 2018, Marin proved too hot to handle
Nehwal started on the front foot and had a 4-1 lead in the first game against Marin. It was a good start by the Indian, with both players operating at a high level. Marin then found his footing (and her voice) and won seven consecutive points to race in a 9-7 lead.
From there, the Indian rattled off four points in a row and followed that a loud “come on!” To leave the first game all square at 9-9. But Marin took a 11-9 lead in the mid-game interval
It was tight to start off after the break as well and Nehwal made it 14-all with a stunning drop shot.
But that was as good as it got for the Indian, who was ranked seventh in the tournament in comparison to Marin’s fourth.
Marin then won six points in a row to have six points, and converted her third.
The second game was much more straightforward for Marin as she did not relinquish her lead after the score was tied 1-1. With P Kashyap egging Nehwal on to keep the shuttle flat, Nehwal was still unable to keep A relentless Marin wrapped the match up in no time.