HYDERABAD: Saina Nehwal, ranked World No. 14, became the first-ever Indian woman shuttler to win two Grand Prix singles titles when she won the $1,70,000 Yonex Chinese Taipei Grand Prix Gold badminton championship in Taiwan on Sunday, according to information received here.
“It was one of my most memorable days. It is a dream come true for me. Coming so close to the quarterfinal appearance in the recent Beijing Olympics, it gives me extra pleasure,” said a delighted Saina in a chat with The Hindu from Taiwan immediately after recording a 21-8, 21-19 win in the final against Li Ya Lydia Cheah of Malaysia.
For someone who after winning the 2006 Phillipines Open had a lacklustre showing in the international circuit till the creditable performance at the Beijing Olympics, Saina believes that this title should prove to her critics that her Olympics performance was no flash in the pan.Simple strategy
Reflecting on her win on Sunday the 18-year-old said that she had a simple strategy for the final. “I was not too worried about the occasion. My strategy was to play to my potential and let things happen,” she said. “The first game was much easier. But, in the second game the familiar problem of drift because of blowers inside the stadium was there. That was the reason I had to struggle a bit and trailed 5-11, 10-15,” she added.
“But importantly I moved into top gear when it mattered the most and that is most satisfying. The doubts over my ability to come up with big points should have been put to rest with this victory,” said Saina.
The two-time National champion, having come of age thanks to the recent exposure trips and training stints abroad, feels that her quarterfinal win against Thai Porntip Buranaprasertsuk was decisive. “Though I was up against a player ranked World No. 42, given her potential to get the better of the best in the business, that victory lifted my confidence level and made me believe that I can win the title here,” said Saina.Great feeling
“It is always a great feeling to be the first to win a title of this magnitude. And, I hope this will just be the beginning in my long pursuit to win an Olympic medal,” she said. She will now leave for Tokyo for the Japanese Open and then from there for the China Open championships.
Pullela Gopi Chand said that it was a tough final and gave full credit to Saina. “This should be a major morale booster for her,” he said. “There is no doubt that she really playing in a different level. Maybe, the best phase of her career so far. All that she needs now is to remain focussed and just go out there and play her normal game.”
A delighted Harvir Singh, who spoke to his daughter Saina immediately after her victory, felt vindicated about his belief in her.
“I know how much struggle we had to undergo over the years. But, thankfully the results are coming in now which should only spur Saina to aim higher,” he said.
7 months ago