Is Saina Nehwal ready to smash her way back into top five?
Zee Media Bureau/Chaitan Papnai
New Delhi: The star Indian shuttler, Saina Nehwal, showed signs of her former self, when she locked horns with the World Champion Ratchanok Intanon in the Uber Cup singles tie on Tuesday.
Nehwal beat the world number four in straight sets 22-20, 21-14 in the first singles match to give India a brilliant start against Thailand. Commonwealth Games gold medallist, hasn`t been in the best of her form for quite some time now. Apart from her Indian Open title in January, this year, she hardly gave any notable performance in the recent past.
During the match, Saina, looked a bit rusty at nets in the beginning, but soon got her rhythm back. Against a deceptive opponent like Ratchanok, Nehwal played an all-round game and eventually won the nail-biting first set, to put more pressure on the Thai shuttler. In the next set, Saina didn`t give much opportunities to her diminutive opponent and comfortably seal the game and the match, to give India a 1-0 lead.
Saina got good support from her team as well. New badminton sensation of India, PV Sindhu also won her singles tie. Later, doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa too got the better of their Thailand opponents to make sure that India beat them 3-2.
Indian team can also take heart from the fact that leader of the pack, Nehwal is high on confidence and most importantly is back in form. In fact, after a poor 2013, Saina is getting back to her winning ways at the right moment, when some big events like Commonwealth Games and Asian Games are scheduled for the year.
After a dip in form for a long time, Nehwal`s ranking also came down. At the moment she is at number eight in the world rankings and if she continues her good form from here on, she can once again break into the top five.