Badminton player Saina Nehwal will lose her World No. 1 ranking after she lost to Olympic champion Li Xuerui in the semifinals at the $500,000 Malaysia Open Super Series Premier badminton tournament, here on Saturday. Nehwal squandered a one-game advantage as she lost 21-13, 17-21, 20-22 to World No.3 Li in a gruelling semifinal that lasted more than one hour at Putra Stadium.
Nehwal, who won the India Open Super Series last week, once again failed to come good against Li, who has now beaten the Indian nine times in 11 meetings. The girl from Hyderabad, who has been on a rampaging run ever since winning the China Open last year, played out of her skin in a match where fortunes fluctuated too often but in the end it was Li who emerged victorious.
Nehwal became the World No. 1 for her exploits at the India Open triumph last week and a semifinal finish here will give her 7,700 points but Li reaching the finals means the Chinese will regain her No.1 ranking. PTI