Saina Nehwal wins maiden Super Series title

Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal clinched her maiden Super Series title on Suinday, winning the Indonesian edition after beating Chinese Lin Wang.

updated: June 22, 2009 07:09 IST
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New Delhi:

Ace woman shuttler Saina Nehwal on Sunday scripted history by becoming the first Indian to win a Super Series tournament after she clinched the Indonesian Open title with a stunning victory over higher ranked Chinese Lin Wang in Jakarta.

Saina clinched her maiden Super Series title beating Wang 12-21, 21-18, 21-9 in an edge-of-the-seat thriller that lasted 49 minutes.

Her triumph today is the best ever performance by any Indian woman and at par with All England Championship titles won by Prakash Padukone and her current coach Pullela Gopichand.

Father, Coach proud of Saina

"This is my best win. I was speechless after the match in tears...I was shocked. I hardly care about winning or losing but I beat 2 Chinese in this tournament..that's a great achievement for me", Saina told NDTV.

To her surprise there were a lot of Indonesian spectators supporting her during the match. "There was a lot of support from Indonesian spectators..I was high in coach gave me the perfect strategy", said the Hyderabadi player.

"I work very hard before all tournaments, this was the best time and I am really proud of myself"

When asked about her future plans, she said her aim was to break into World Top 5. "Next plan is to break into top 5 by year end & to the World Championshiip in Hyderabad".

Saina couldn't have given a better gift to her father on the occassion of Father's Day and the young achiever exclaimed, "I spoke to my dad..he's an emotional person and actually I forgot its Father's Day due to match tensions..I will surely wish him now."

In the thrilling final, world number eight Saina came from behind to outsmart world number three Wang and avenge her last week's Singapore Open Super Series loss to the same rival.

Saina took time to get into the groove as she struggled to gauge the gameplan of Wang in the first game. Wang opened a 4-9 lead and rode on her smashes and better net play o pocket the first game as Saina was left to do the catchup act.

But the Indian ace rallied her way back in the second game. Saina levelled the score at 5-5 and then moved together with her Chinese rival till 17-17 before surging ahead to pocket the second game 21-18.

In the decider, Saina was in her attacking best besides displaying better nerves in crucial moments.

After moving neck and neck till 7-7, Saina went berserk by engaging her rival in soft dribble and net play to widen the gap at 15-9 before reeling off six straight points to seal her place in history.

Hailing Saina's victory as an important milestone in Indian badminton, Badminton Association of India announced a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh as a recognition of her feat.

"It is a big moment in Indian badminton. We are proud of her achievement. We are announcing a cash reward of Rs two lakhs as an acknowledgment of Saina's hard work and achievement," BAI president V K Verma said.

"It is a moment to cherish for Indian sports. Saina has put up a lot of hard work but I will also want to thank the Sports Ministry for their support and financial help," he added.