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Saina closer to Indonesian title after 'miraculous win'

Last updated on: June 25, 2011 17:55 IST

'This is a good win'



Defending champion Saina Nehwal inched closer to a third successive Indonesian Open Super Series title after advancing to the finals with a hard-fought victory over Chinese Taipei's Shao Chieh Cheng in Jakarta on Saturday.

The fourth-seeded Indian won 21-14, 14-21, 21-17 in a 45-minute battle against giant-killer Cheng, who had created quite a flutter by upstaging top seed Shixian Wang and seventh seed Xin Liu earlier in the tournament.

Saina had to dig deep in her armoury and rely on her power-packed smashes to outpace Cheng, who is known for her fast movement on court.

"I have seen her play in many tournaments. She is a very talented and hard working player. She is very dynamic and moves very fast on court. So it is important to have full force in the smashes or else she can retrieve from anywhere. It is a good win," Saina said.

Image: India's Saina Nehwal plays a return against Taiwan's Cheng Shao Chieh during their women's singles semi-final at the Djarum Indonesia Badminton Open Super Series Premier tournament in Jakarta on Saturday
Photographs: Reuters

'I was pumped up to do well'

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It was a sweet revenge for Saina who had lost narrowly to Cheng in the pre-quarterfinals of the Singapore Open in her last tournament.

"I had lost closely to her that too was my own fault as I had given two points. I was upset after the match but I am happy I could beat her today. She played well but I was pumped up to do well," she said.

In the opening game, Saina didn't give Cheng any chance to overtake her and though the Chinese Taipei shuttler came close many times, the Indian reeled off seven successive points from 14-13 to nose ahead.

However, Cheng raised her game in the next and opened up a 6-0 lead first up and then moved ahead with giant strides to bounce back into contention with the help of more net winners than Saina's.

The decider was a closer affair but Cheng didn't have a reply to Saina's 11 smash winners as the Indian kept widening the gap with her rival before sealing the game and the match in her favour.

Image: India's Saina Nehwal returns a shot to Taiwan's Cheng Shao Chieh

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'I reached final today and it is a miracle'

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Last year, Saina had won three titles -- Indian Open grand Prix Gold, Singapore Super Series and Indonesian Super Series -- in June, before winning the Commonwealth Games gold medal and Hong Kong Super Series.

But half-way through 2011, Saina has just one title -- Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold -- and one runner-up finish in the Malaysia Super Series to her name.

The girl from Hyderabad, in the last six months, has tasted success but her defeats against lower ranked players such as Japanese Ai Goto in the Indian Open Super Series and then to world number 18, Inthanon Ratchanok of Thailand, in the Sudirman Cup has brought her inconsistency to the fore.

At the Thailand Open too Saina was knocked out by world number 16 Xuerui Li of China in the quarters, while at the Singapore Open, Cheng had stopped her run in the pre-quarters.

Saina termed her win on Saturday as a miracle and said she was happy with the win.

"I love the conditions here, I reached final today and it is a miracle. It was very tough, I lost to her in Singapore; that was close, she played very well. All I wanted to do is give my best," Saina said.

Asked about her title-clash against third seed Yihan Wang of China, Saina said the wishes of her fans and family will help her to win her first Super Series of the year.

"Nothing is impossible, I hope tomorrow will be a good day. All Indians will be praying and my fans have always been supporting me, and the crowd has been encouraging, I hope to do well tomorrow," said Saina.

Image: India's Saina Nehwal returns a shot to Taiwan's Cheng Shao Chieh

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