Fit-again Saina looks to retain titles in Thailand, Indonesia

New Delhi: Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal on Sunday said she expects nothing but defence of her titles in Thailand and Indonesia as she returns to action post a freak toe injury.

It will be a busy month for the young Hyderabadi as she will feature in an event in Singapore after playing in Thailand and Indonesia.

The world number 2 Indian was forced to skip the Sudirman Cup after aggravating a toe injury during the India Open in April. She had suffered a hairline fracture on the small toe of her left foot before the home event.

"It was an inadvertent happening in house when I was injured. It was quite painful that I was not able to participate in Sudirman cup. But past is past. Moving ahead, I have fully recovered from injury," Saina said.

The girl from Hyderabad had won the Thailand Grand Prix Gold and Indonesia Open last year and said she will look to repeat her performance in the back-to-back tournaments this month once again.

"I had good practice sessions for these upcoming three tournaments. I want that I should repeat my last year`s performance. Let see how best I do in these tournaments," the 23-year-old said.

Thailand Open will get underway on Tuesday in Bangkok, followed by the Indonesia Super Series Premier from June 10-16 in Jakarta and the Singapore Super Series (June 18-23).

Defending champion Saina has got the top billing in Thailand Open and will open her campaign against Renna Suwarno of Indonesia.

Given her consistent performance in the last couple of years and the absence of top Chinese players, Saina should enter the finals in Thailand without much ado.

However, Saina stressed on the competitiveness of the game and chose not to look too further ahead as any player can raise his game on a particular day.

"It is very competitive badminton nowadays. On a particular day, any player can excel up to any extent. That is why I got the first title in 2006 in Philippines, when my ranking was 86 in the world," said Saina, who has been seeded second in Indonesia and Singapore.

The fiercest competitor for Saina in the Thailand Open will be second seed Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand, who has a 3-4 record against the Indian. She had beaten Saina in the last two encounters.

Saina appeared on the global scene in 2006 when she became the first Indian woman to win a 4-star tournament, the Philippines Open. Ever since, she has stunned the world with her aggressive game and as of now, she has six super series titles in her kitty.

Saina is also the reigning Commonwealth Games champion, beside being the London Olympics bronze medallist in 2012 Games. She also won a bronze medal in the 2010 Asian Championship and was the world junior champion in 2008.


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