We have it in us to beat Tai Tzu Ying, says Saina Nehwal

World No. 1 Tai Tzu has defeated Saina nine times in their last 10 meetings and Sindhu eight times in 11.

We have it in us to beat Tai Tzu Ying, says Saina Nehwal
Saina Nehwal and Tai Tzu Ying at the Indonesia Open medal ceremony (Photo: Twitter)

New Delhi: World No. 1 Tai Tzu Ying might have proved to be a nemesis for Saina Nehwal but the Indian shuttler believes the Taiwanese is not unbeatable and exuded confidence of defeating her in due time.

Tai Tzu, who clinched five titles last year, has defeated Saina nine times in last 10 meetings with only three of them going into a decider, albeit for a lost cause. Last Sunday, Saina suffered her seventh straight loss to the Taiwanese at the Indonesia Masters final.

"You see the number of tournaments she has been won last year, so it is not only the Indians who are losing to her. She is the best player right now. She is tricky, she is very focused and consistently reaching the finals. We have to look up to her," Saina told reporters.

"I think the top 15 players are doing well. There are some players who you are not comfortable against, but it is not that we cant beat her (Tai Tzu).

"Tai Tzu almost lost to Michelle Li in the first round at Indonesia, so we will have to figure out a way to beat her. I think it is a matter of time, we have it in us to do well against her," she added.

Sindhu too has found the going tough against Tai Tzu, who has defeated the Indian eight times in 11 meetings. The 23-year-old Taiwanese girl has beaten Sindhu in the last four encounters.

"She is definitely doing well and when you are mentioning about the losses, you also have to mention that I had beaten her in the PBL," Sindhu laughed, referring to her victory at the Premier Badminton League early this month.

"Well, of course, it was a different scoring system. She is doing well, she is consistent. But it's not like we can't beat her. I always feel it depends on how one plays on that day. We might have ups and downs and we need to be focussed to beat her," she added.

Saina, who recovered from an ankle injury, too entered her first Major final since the knee injury-induced ouster from the Rio Olympics said she is looking to stay fit and not losing her sleep over results in tournaments.

"The only thing I am looking to do is stay fit and train hard, and yes, it has been an excellent week at Indonesia for me - thanks to Gopi sir. We didn't have much time after the PBL (Premier Badminton League), so basically it was 5-6 good sessions of preparation before the Indonesia Open and I came out with a good result," she said.

Asked how she will handle the workload during the hectic season ahead, Saina snapped: "I am not looking forward to any tournament, just want to stay fit."

Later, when she was termed as a title-contender for the India Open, Saina's sarcastic response was: "Last few months, I was not a title contender, so I don't know from where it is coming. It's okay. I am performing well, so hope to do well."

Sindhu, however, was her usual self. "Each round would be tough, so we should prepare one at a time. I know I won last time and Saina also won in 2015, so we will have to give my best."

The India Open Super 500 tournament lost a lot of sheen with the last-moment withdrawal of World No. 1's Viktor Axelsen and Tai Tzu in a draw that doesn't have the top Japanese or Chinese players.

BAI general secretary Anup Narang said:"We had some withdraws; Viktor Axelsen and Tai Tzu Ying pulled out at the last moment. But we have Carolina Marin, Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and K Srikanth, so we have a very good list of players playing.

"But yes, the number of entries has gone down, probably because players are getting to terms with a tough schedule and they have to decide how they want to go about it," he added.

Besides Saina and Sindhu, Olympic champion Carolina Marin and World No. 4 Thai Ratchanok Intanon are the other top players.

The two-time former world championship Marin will be in her third week after playing at the Malaysia Masters and the Indonesia Masters.

Asked why did she plan to participate in three tournaments on the trot, Marin said: "It is a tough year for every player since the calendar has changed and my strategy, may be, is to play three on a roll because perhaps I am not comfortable with other tournaments later in the year. Also, I will get good time to prepare for All England." 

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