India’s Saina Nehwal has done it again. The champion shuttler picked her fourth Super Series title in all when she came back strongly from a first-game deficit to down the Chinese Wang Shixian of China 15-21, 21-16, 21-17 in the final of the Hong Kong Super Series women’s singles final on Sunday.
Saina, in a way, achieved a rare feat of winning all the finals she entered this year – starting with the Indian Open in Chennai, Singapore Open, Indonesian Open, Commonwealth Games and now the Hong Kong Open.
For the record, World No. 4 Saina has an unmatched record for any Indian badminton player in terms of winning the Super Series titles.
The 20-year-old Indian, seeded second here in Hong Kong Open, was desperate to put behind the disappointment of her quarter-final loss in the recent Guangzhou Asian Games, shrugged off early blues to rediscover her form to the shock of the third-seeded opponent.
For someone who had to miss out at least five Super Series this year because of her national commitments to play in the Commonwealth and the Asian Games, the Hyderabadi was clearly in the mood to make a point or two with her typical blend of solid defence and wonderful strokes.
It was a remarkable contest where the Indian shuttler showed her now familiar fighting qualities. There were quite a few moments when she was down but not out, literally. The second game gave enough hints that this Indian shuttler meant business without wilting under pressure. Initially, she led 3-0 then it was the Chinese who took the lead 4 was a simple example of Saina’s remarkable ability 5-4 only to see Saina take seven points in-a-row to lead 11-5.
Then it was the turn of the Wan g to pay back the compliments with a wonderful blend of attack and defence to narrow down the lead 10-11. This was the phase when Saina raised her game to a new high picking another seven points stretch to take a convincing 19-11 lead. It was not as if the Chinese shuttler gave up easily as she reduced the lead only to lose the game.
Buoyed by this success in the second game, Saina was in a different mood in the decider, coming up with some stunning cross-court returns initially to take a 5-0 lead, combining her famous net-dribbles. But, again it was a see-saw battle for supremacy. When things appeared to be too close, Saina scored the big points when it mattered most to slow inch her way back into the game and eventually emerged a deserving winner when the opponent returned out a deep return from the Indian.
Saina was on record before she left for the Hong Kong Open saying that very rarely she was as determined as she was this time around to win this title. And, now she has every reason to sport a big smile.