With the Hong Kong Open Women’s Singles Crown, India’s 20-year old badminton superstar, Saina Nehwal, soared in her ranking from World No.4 to World No.3. The 71 minute duel that preceded this win was a war of nerves.
The Hong Kong Open title won by Saina on Sunday beating Chinese third seed Wang Shixian was not without its anxious moments. Saina went down 15-21 in the first set; recovered in the second set with a 21-16 win and went on to grab the title in the third set with an ace performance of 21-17.
After the Asian Games debacle earlier this year, it was sweet revenge for Sania as she trounced the Asian Games gold medalist Shixian Wang who played an aggressive game from the beginning.
Saina is India’s first women badminton player to be bracketed among the top five in world ranking. She is also the first Indian women badminton player to figure in an All-India semifinals in 2010. Entering the quarter finals of women’s badminton at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 by Saina was again a first for any Indian women badminton player.
The impressive victory run began for Saina in 2006 when she won the Philippines Open Grand Prix and bagged a silver medal at Commonwealth Games while the Indian team picked up a bronze medal the same year.
At the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2008 Saina stunned everybody by bagging the gold medal and won a gold medal at the World Junior Championship and ended the year with the Chinese Taipei Open title.
The year 2009 saw Saina winning the Indonesia Opon Super Series and the Syed Modi Grand Prix title.
Saina opened this year with a bronze medal at the Asian Championship and then went on to win India Open title. She continued her winning streak in 2010 with title wins at Singapore Open and Indonesia Open titles. At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India she rallied back into the game after giving some anxious moments to her Indian fans to win top honours with a gold medal.
Asked as to how she rated this win, Saina confessed that the whole year was great for her but this win was the greatest of all.