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Saina reigns in Indonesia

June 21, 2009 20:49 IST

Saina reigns in Indonesia

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Saina Nehwal scripted history on Sunday, becoming the first Indian to win a Super Series tournament after clinching the Indonesian Open with a stunning victory over higher-ranked Chinese Lin Wang in Jakarta.

The Indian ace won an edge-of-the-seat thriller that lasted 49 minutes 12-21, 21-18, 21-9.

Her triumph is the best ever performance by any Indian woman and at par with All England Championship titles won by Prakash Padukone and her current coach, Pullela Gopichand.


Image: Saina Nehwal in action against China's Wang Lin
Photographs: Reuters
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Saina reigns in Indonesia

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In a thrilling final, world No 8 Saina came from behind to outsmart world No 3 Wang and avenge last week's Singapore Open Super Series loss.

Saina took time to get into the groove as she struggled to gauge the game plan of Wang in the first game. Wang opened a 4-9 lead and rode on her smashes and better net play to pocket the first game.

But the Indian ace rallied her way back in the second game. Saina levelled the score at 5-5 and then moved along with the Chinese till 17-17 before surging ahead to pocket the second game 21-18.


Image: Saina Nehwal exults after winning the final

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Saina reigns in Indonesia

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In the decider, Saina was at her attacking best. After moving neck and neck till 7-7, she went berserk by engaging her opponent in soft dribbles and net play to widen the gap at 15-9 before reeling off six straight points to seal her place in history.

Hailing Saina's victory as an important milestone in Indian badminton, the Badminton Association of India announced a cash prize of Rs 200,000.

"It is a big moment in Indian badminton. We are proud of her achievement. We are announcing a cash reward of Rs two lakh as an acknowledgment of Saina's hard work and achievement," BAI president V K Verma said.

"It is a moment to cherish for Indian sports. Saina has put in a lot of hard work but I will also want to thank the Sports Ministry for their support and financial help," he added.


Image: Sania Nehwal becomes the first Indian to win a Super Series tournament

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