Saina Nehwal came up with yet another dominating performance to pack off former world champion Ratchanok Intanon in straight games to reach her first major final since a career-threatening knee injury back in August 2016 at the Indonesia Masters in Jakarta on Saturday.

The world number 12, playing her first international tournament this year, maintained her composure as Intanon staged a late fightback to win 21-19, 21-19 in just 49 minutes to stay on course for her fourth Indonesia Open crown. In the final, she will face world number one Tai Tzu Ying, who got the better of China’s He Bingjiao 19-21, 21-15, 21-15.

If there was any doubt about Nehwal’s preparation for the season after an ankle-injury had affected her performance in the Premier Badminton League, the 27-year-old had allied all features by registering a come from behind victory over China’s Chen Yufei in the opening round and has been building on it since then.

Having conquered compatriot PV Sindhu with a perfect strategy in the quarter-finals on Friday, Nehwal was erratic in the opening game and probably benefited from an equally tentative Intanon as both players made quite a few errors in the opening exchanges.

The Thai, however, had a two-point advantage going into the break but the world number 12 levelled scores at 13-13 as she started extending the rallies.

But it ultimately came down to composure as Intanon made crucial errors at the net to hand Nehwal her first game point and the Indian made no mistake in pocketing the game.

There was spring in Nehwal’s steps in the second game as she opened up a 9-2 lead, smashing her way to easy points. But Intanon, who won the Malaysia Masters last week, clawed back as she exploited the Indian’s lack of movement to the right hand corner, but the eventual winner made up for that weakness by pushing the speed of the rallies.

The high point of the match for Nehwal probably came when she dominated a decently long rally with flat drives and forced Intanon to dive full-length to win a point with a backhand winner to take a 13-8 lead.

She, however, grew impatient soon after and Intanon won six consecutive points to level scores at 17-17 with the Thai finding her full range of strokes to push Nehwal on the back foot.

But the Indian, whose last title triumph came in the Malaysia Masters last year, raised the tempo once again to earn two match points. Intanon saved one but was clearly second best on the other and Nehwal’s celebrations clearly showed how much the win meant for her.