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Mumbai: "I should not have gone to Rio" Olympics, said Saina Nehwal, almost a year after the champion shuttler's early exit proved to be one of the biggest upsets for the Indian contingent at the Games.

The 27-year-old Saina's second round defeat to known Ukrainian Marija Ulitina was the lowest point for India in Rio, having entered the Games as the previous edition's bronze medallist and a winner of multiple international tournaments.

That was a year ago. Now, a rejuvenated Saina marked her return to the big league by reaching the semifinals of the World Badminton Championships here.

"Only I know what I went through. I shouldn't have gone to Rio, I didn't know I had a major injury. The belief of my parents and coach helped me get back. I still have tendonitis in the (right) knee," Saina said after her quarterfinal match.

The 27-year-old Indian, who won a silver medal at the last edition at Jakarta, dug deep into her reservoir to eke out a 21-19 18-21 21-15 win over world No. 31 Kristy Gilmour of Scotland.

The London Olympics bronze medallist will next play seventh seed Nozomi Okuhara of Japan, who knocked out two-time defending champion Spain's Carolina Marin 21-18 14-21 21-15 in another match.
"I wasn't sure of a medal, I had a difficult draw. Reaching the semi-finals is a great feeling, but tomorrow will be a tough match."

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