Swiss win will help Saina gain confidence for Olympics: Gopi

Last Updated: Sunday, March 18, 2012 - 22:41

New Delhi: The stupendous title win in the Swiss Open on Sunday will boost Saina Nehwal`s confidence and set the ball rolling for the London Olympics in July, India coach Pullela Gopichand said.

The World number five Saina on Sunday defeated China`s Shixian Wang, ranked three, 21-19 21-16 in a 48-minute thrilling contest to defend her women`s singles title at Basel, Switzerland.

"It is a very important victory for Saina. She has been playing well even last year but some close matches here and there, which could have gone either way, cost her a lot. But today she beat Shixian quite comfortably in the end," Gopichand said.

"This win will give her a lot of confidence. It is an Olympic year and it will help her to prepare for the London Games. She needs to peak now on," he added.

Gopichand said it is difficult for Saina to keep her competitive edge over so many chinese at the top and the Indian needs to adept and evolve her game if she has to go on to win bigger titles for the country.

"In a way, they had figured her out but it is easier for them. For China, it is just one Saina but for her it is five or six Chinese against whom she has to compete. They naturally target her but still she has done well," he said.

"She is playing the chinese shuttlers day in and day out, so Saina needs to keep working on her weakness, and adept as a player not only physically and technically but also have to take care of mental aspects.

"She has been training well and worked hard, of course after her loss in All England, we made a few changes. She needs to go back and evolve and add variety to her repertoire of strokes," Gopichand said.

Asked about the match, the 2001 All England Champion said Saina brought some variety in her game today and started off on a positive note.

"She started off well, had a good lead and played a lot of shots, like drops. She added variety which was previously missing and in the end Saina was able to push the pace and win the first game 21-19," he said.

"In the second game as well, initially she did well, but she lost a bit, Shixian hit good strokes and made it 11-8 but after that Saina took control of the game and made it 14-all, Saina pushed the pace and rallied and forced Shixian to make error in the long rally," he added.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, March 18, 2012 - 22:41

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