Saina touches a new high in Indonesia Open

June 21st, 2009 - 9:35 pm ICT by IANS  

By Avishek Roy
New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) Three years after her surprise win at the Philippines Open, her first major international tournament, Saina Nehwal continues to scale the peak of world badminton at a breathtaking speed.

On Sunday, it was another historic first for the 19-year-old Saina as she clinched her maiden Super Series title in the Indonesia Open.

World No.8 Saina knocked out No.3 Chinese Lin Wang 12-21, 21-18, 21-9 in Jakarta to make it the first Super Series triumph for an Indian.

Saina’s rise at the international level has been so fast that she herself has found it difficult at times to keep pace with her achievements that often forced her to reset goals.

All this while the expectations have been rising high. Last year in Beijing, she had almost achieved her dream of winning an Olympic medal in the very first appearance. But she lost from a winning position in the quarterfinal, perhaps the only time when nerves got the better of her.

But she came back strongly to win the Chinese Taipei Grand Prix and reaching the semi-final of Singapore Open Super Series to crack into world’s top-10 by the year end.

This year she had set her eyes on a Super Series title, but when it came Sunday, Saina found it difficult to comprehend.

“I could not believe that I have won this tournament. I could not believe that it has come so early in my career,” Saina told IANS from Jakarta.

“I was speechless for a moment after winning the title.”

“I lost in the semi-final of Singapore Super Series last year. I was making it to the quarters, but was losing my way from there. I wanted to win a Super Series title and I really worked very hard before this tournament. I am happy that my effort has bore fruits,” she said.

“Next I will play in the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold. I will celebrate this victory when I will return home.”

It is indeed celebration time for Indian badminton as Saina is fast catching up with two of the former world’s best Prakash Padukone and her coach Pullela Gopichand, who both won the prestigious All England championship.

Saina’s winning an elite international title amidst world’s top 10 players, at just 19 years, points that she certainly has the potential to become No. 1.

“I have been working very hard and I believe that if you put a sincere effort you can achieve success, irrespective of your age,” she says.

“I do not think about pressure because then you get bogged down. It is important for me to stay focussed and not think too much about the result.”

Sixth-seed Saina has been in a sensational form throughout the tournament. She defeated Chinese Lan Lu in the semi-final and South Korean Hye Youn Hwang in the quarterfinal in two tough encounters to enter the title-clash.

She rallied in the final against Wang from a game-down to upset the Chinese in 48 minutes.

“It was my first Super Series final and I was nervous in the first game. But then I settled down and got back my rhythm in the second and third game. Crowd’s backing also boosted my confident.”

“I have been regularly beating top players now. It is tough to win matches at the top level because you are playing the same players and they know your game. I have to maintain consistency.”

For Saina the next big target will be the World Championship at her home town Hyderabad in August.

“I did not perform that well in the Indian Open in Hyderabad. This victory would boost my confidence for the World Championship,” she said.

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