Saina Nehwal added another glorious chapter to the annals of Indian sport on Sunday, Dec. 12.
The young Hyderabadi clinched her fourth Super Series title at Hong Kong, defeating her Chinese opponent Shixian Wang 15-21, 21-16, 21-17 in one hour and 11 minutes.
2010 has been Saina Nehwal’s year.
The string of victories began at home with the India Open Grand Prix and included the Singapore and Indonesia Opens.
The 20-year-old also won gold at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
But it has not all been hunky-dory; the hoodoo of quartersfinal exits lingers at the events that count.
The 2008 Beijing Olympics, the 2009 and 2010 World Championships and more recently the Guangzhou Asian Games 2010 saw her exit without making the final four; semi-final exits at the All-England championships and the Asia championships made her fans wonder if the pressure of the big stage was getting to her.
She made progress however, towards erasing these disappointments at the Hong Kong tournament. She avenged her Guangzhou loss to Hong Kong’s Pui Yin Yip winning in three games in the quarterfinals.
Beating the Chinese opponent, who knocked her out at the Paris World Championship in the HK final, was the icing on the cake.
Saina is currently ranked World No. 4. At most, she might climb to No. 3, since the Badminton World Federation (BWF) considers only the top 10 tournaments in the year to decide the players’ rankings.
According to chief badminton coach, Pullela Gopichand, "At the most she may move to the third spot. I think it will take some more time for her to gain it (the No. 1 spot)."
Saina’s Record Against Top ranked Chinese Opponents
- Wang Yihan 0-1
- Wang Xin 0-2
- Jiang Yanjiao 0-3
- Wang Lin 1-3
- Wang Shixian 1-1
- Lu Lan 2-1
Saina’s Record Against Other Rated Players
- Tine Rasmussen 0-2
- Pi Hongyan 0-5
- Zhou Mi 1-3
- Juliane Schenk 4-2
- Eriko Hirose 1-2
- Yao Jie 1-2
- Bae Seung Hee 2-0
- Yip Pui Yin 2-2
- Ella Diehl 5-0
- Petya Nedelcheva 3-1
- Wong Mew Choo 5-2
- Salakjit Ponsana 3-0
- Adrianti Firdasari 2-2
- Ai Goto 3-0
- Bae Youn-joo 2-0
"It is like a dream come true, I am very happy that I am finishing the year like this. It is like a dream come true," Saina speaking to the TimesNow television channel.
Usha Nehwal, Saina’s mother, said:
Is Saina Nehwal the Indian sportsperson of the year?
"In the first set, she (Saina) usually warms up. So, we were not really worried at that time. But when she won the second game, her father and I were sure she would pull it off. She is a very hardworking girl and we are proud of her achievements."
For Indian badminton, Saina is still the shining light, shining bright.
Quote of the day:
In certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning. – George Orwell