Monday, March 19, 2012

Saina Nehwal wins Swiss Open-2012

She has done it again!

Saina Nehwal displayed tremendous form and grit to successfully defend her title at the Swiss Open-2012 Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament that was held at Basel in Switzerland from 13th to 18th March 2012.

I don't know what divine connection Saina Nehwal has with Switzerland.
Perhaps the Gods in the Swiss Alps like her fighting spirit, or perhaps when she is here she just draws her inspiration from the local Swiss hero Roger Federer (who is a native of Basel, the place where this  tournament takes place), or perhaps its just because her birthday coincides with the dates of this tournament giving her time to reflect on her life goals, (O my God, one more year gone, I have to win this !! :)), but the fact is that the Swiss Open has become Saina's favourite hunting ground for titles.

That the final match of the Swiss Open-2012 was not going to be easy for Saina, was a foregone conclusion, for looking determinedly at her from the other end of the net was her arch-rival, current World no.3 (and former no.1), Shixian Wang of China.

But didn't someone say, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. This mental toughness may have been the deciding factor in the final match, as a resolute Saina Nehwal went about her job with clinical precision defeating Wang 21-19, 21-16 in straight sets to win the match and retain her title.

Last year at the Swiss Open-2011, Saina Nehwal had crushed Ji Hyun Sung of Korea 21-13, 21-14 in the finals in 43 minutes, but as many will recall, the Chinese players had not participated last year. Here's more information about how Saina won the Swiss-Open-2011 last year.

History's been repeating itself the last two years for Saina. She had bowed out of the quarter-finals of the England Open last year, and then went on to win the Swiss title. This year the same story was repeated. A quarter-final loss at the England Open followed by a title win at the Swiss open.

However this year things were different and tougher, with the Chinese players having entered the fray, and if you ask me, just this one fact makes Saina's win this year much more commendable than her victory at the same venue last year.

The win has also been a timely one for Saina Nehwal, coming as it does with the London 2012 Olympics just round the corner. Let's hope that she continues to perform in the same vein throughout the year.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saina Nehwal out of England Open 2012

India's last remaining challenge at the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships 2012 being held at Birmingham, UK, came to an end, when Saina Nehwal lost in the quarterfinals to World No.5 Xuerui Li of China. Xuerui Li defeated Saina 21-13, 23-21.

Amongst the other Indians in the fray at the England Open 2012, PV Sindhu the new Indian National women's badminton champion, had done well to reach from the qualifying rounds to the main draw. However in the first round of the main event she went down fighting to Tzu Ying Tai of Taiwan who defeated her in a closely fought match 14-21 21-16 21-19.

In the men's singles, RMV Guru Sai Dutt and Sourabh Verma failed to progress from the qualifiers to the main draw, while Ajay Jayaram and P.Kashyap lost in the first round of the main event.

The same story was repeated for India, in the doubles sections of the England Open-2012, with Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas in the men's doubles, V.Diju and Jwala Gutta in the mixed doubles, losing their respective opening round matches.

The women's doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa did slightly better to get past the opening hurdle but their further hopes were dashed as they lost their way in the 2nd round losing to second seeded Chinese pair of Qing Tian & Yunlei Zhao.

The only Indians to have ever won the All England Open badminton championships are former players Prakash Padukone and Pullela Gopichand, and there are many Indians who feel that Saina has the talent to repeat this extraordinary feat. However at least for this year, this was not to be.

For Saina Nehwal, it must have been disappointing to lose once again in the quarter-finals. Reminds of her loss at the same tournament last year when she had lost to lower ranked Eriko Hirose of Japan in the quarters. Not to forget that Saina had won the Swiss Open immediately after that loss.

Here's more on what had happened last year Saina crashes out of England Open-2011, and lets wish her all the best for the next badminton tournament in the queue, the Swiss Open 2012.