The Badminton World Series is on, and it is not unusual that Saina Nehwal has been putting put a remarkable performance. Although she was out to a shaky start and was almost out of the semi finals race of BWF World Super Series finals, after losing two consecutive matches in Group ‘B’. World No.3 Saina Nehwal went down to Tine Baun of Denmark. She failed to find her feet in the first game against Tine. Even before the game reached the halfway stage Tine was leading 13-7. The tables turned in the second game when Saina was off in a flash and was able to secure a 21-11 win. Again, in the third game Tine Baun stunned Saina who delivered eight smash winners and won the last game.
A day after her defeat against Tine, Saina faced Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand. If Saina’s performance was not up to the mark during her match against Tine Baun, her second match would have definitely left spectators wondering why she was struggling so much when her opponent barely broke a sweat. Her Thai opponent started the game with a 14-5 lead. Saina tried to make a comeback in the second game and steer the match to her favour. It was a neck and neck between Saina and Ratchanok till 16, but again, Ratchanok surged ahead to seize the next five points to win the match.
Saina’s third match was against German, Juliane Schnek. Saina has won seven out of ten matches against Scnhek. Saina was able to restore the faith of her Indian fans with a fine startight-game win over Schnek. She has put herself back into the reckoning for her fifth Super Series title this year. In an impressive 37 minute match, the Indian shuttler was able to beat her German counterpart 21-7, 21-18. Saina hit six smash winners in the first game, and from there was no stopping her. Although Schnek had a three point lead in the second game, Saina quickly caught up through her cross court smashes. There were some crucial points in the matches, when it looked like the German would win, but Saina’s resilience took her forward.
In the semi-finals on Saturday Saina lost to Li. Saina had a little difficulty in the first game, but breezed through the with an 8 point lead in the beginning and kept extending it to win the game. In the deciding game at 11-all Li dominated with her superior skill and speed and beat Saina.
She has rightly said that this has been the best year for her. In addition to her Olympic bronze, she also won the Indonesia Open Super Series Premier, Denmark Open Super Series Premier, Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold, and the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold. It would have been brilliant if Saina was able to hold on to win a 5th title.
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