Chinese Taipei my biggest win: Saina

Olympic quarter-finalist Saina Nehwal on Sunday reckoned her triumph at the Chinese Taipei Grand Prix as the biggest in her career.

updated: September 14, 2008 14:32 IST
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New Delhi:

Olympic quarter-finalist Saina Nehwal on Sunday reckoned her triumph at the Chinese Taipei Grand Prix as the biggest in her career and hopes to break into the top 10 riding on her performance at the Asian circuit.

Saina became the first Indian woman shuttler with two Grand Prix crowns under her belt after she clinched the title in Chinese Taipei beating unseeded Malaysian Li Ya Lydia Cheah 21-8, 21-19 in the final of the GP Gold event on Sunday.

"This is my biggest victory. Philippines Open was a four-star event but this one was five star and I feel I really played very well. I was in peak form and my confidence was very high," Saina said.

Playing her first tournament since making it to the quarter-finals of the Beijing Olympics, Saina said the tie against Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand in the last-eight stage was the toughest and winning it made her confident of claiming the title.

"I think the quarter-final was the most toughest match for me. I was stretched to three sets. This Thai girl (Porntip) was a good hitter and played very good strokes. Winning this match made me comfortable for the next two days and gave me the confidence that I can win the title.

"I expected the semi-final to be a tough one, especially because (Pia Zebadiah) Bernadet had defeated Olympic bronze medallist (Marian Kritin ) Yullianti in the quarter-finals. But it turned out to be relatively easier than I expected," she said.

Following the rampaging form that saw her win the Grand Prix title, the ace shuttler says breaking into the top 10 is next on her agenda.

"My next aim is to break into the top 10. I am playing the Japan Super Series and the China Masters next. These are big events and I hope to do well there," said the Hyderabadi girl.

After her first GP win at the 2006 Philippines Open, Saina went through a lean patch and the 18-year-old says it was sheer hard work in those two years that made her an improved player.

"After the Philippines open, it was not that I was playing too badly. I wasn't winning but I was giving a tough fight.

"In between I worked mainly on my stamina and defence and also on my movement and it today it paid me rich dividends.

"Today, I am a much improved player, I am playing very well against top players and it has given me a lot of confidence," she said.

Saina will meet seventh-seed Mi Zhou in the first round of the Yonex Japan Super Series Open to be held from September 16-21 and the national champion is upbeat about it.

"I know it will be a tough one, but I am not scared. As always I will give of my 100 per cent and put the best foot forward and hopefully I will be able to do well there as well," Saina, who is leaving for Japan on Monday morning, said.