Saina Nehwal kept her date with another piece of history and her promise to her father, Harvir Singh. For, the 20-year-old World No. 6 from India picked her second Super Series title when she put it across Chinese Taipei qualifier Tzu Ying Tai with a fluent 21-18, 21-15 win in the Singapore Super Series badminton championship final on Sunday.
For the record, Saina won the Indonesian Super Series to pick her maiden title at this level in June 2009 and is the only Indian woman shuttler ever to win two Super Series titles.
In a way, Harvir Singh could not have hoped for a better gift from his champion daughter than this title on Father’s Day. “It certainly is a special victory by all means. She was confident when I spoke to her before the final. She was confident but was keen not to be complacent,” Harvir informed The Hindu immediately after her victory.
“This was one big victory which we have been waiting for quite some time, especially after the long injury break she was forced to have. There was disappointment from her side at not winning the Asian championship in Delhi. But, the victory in the Chennai Indian Open Grand made up for that loss,” he recalled. “She was really keen to win her second Super Series title and we are all happy with her achievement,” the proud father said.
For his part, India’s chief national coach and Saina’s mentor, Pullela Gopi Chand, reminds that the Singapore Super Series win is really significant given the fact that she beat the world champion and top-seed Lu Lan in the semi-final on way to this title-win. “Somehow, I have a feeling that Saina had clearly stepped into the elite group and is playing a totally different game now. She sounded confident when I spoke to her yesterday and her mood was upbeat ahead of the final,” Gopi explained. “Yes, it was not a surprise result given the fact that Saina was up against a qualifier. The only thing she had to be careful was not to be over-confident. She just maintained her cool to clinch the game,” he pointed out.
“Yes, as a coach I am really happy that Saina great strides in the areas in which we worked so hard like improving her backhand, forehand corners,” the national coach remarked.
A visibly delighted mother, Usha Rani, struggled to control her emotions on her daughter’s fabulous achievement even as her husband was busy giving reactions to the media. “I am really pleased. We know how what short of passion Saina has for the sport and this should only do her a world of good in the days to come,” she remarked.