Saina � First in India
1) She is the first Indian player to win the prestigious Asian Satellite Badminton tournament (India Chapter) twice
2) She is the First Indian woman to win a 4-star tournament, the Philippines Open.
3) Saina Nehwal is the first and only Indian woman till now to reach the singles quarterfinals at the Olympic games of Badminton.
4) Saina Nehwal won the World Junior Badminton Championships and stood as the first and the only Indian to do it .
5) Saina Nehwal is the first Indian to win a Super Series tournament, through Indonesia Open.
6) Saina Nehwal is the first Indian women to go till the semi finals of All-England Super Series-2010
Last but not the least�.
7) She is the first Indian woman to bring glory to the Indian Badminton by achieving top most rankings worldwide.
Saina Nehwal wins Indonesia Open 2012 Finals
India�s Badminton Queen Saina Nehwal has won the Women�s Singles Championship of Indonesia Open Super Series Premier badminton at Jakarta Jun 17 2012, by defeating China�s Xuerui Li.
Saina, just like her quarterfinals clash against another Chinese Shixian Wang, survived nervous moments before crossing the hurdle.
Saina, the World No. 5 upstaged the reigning All England and Asian Champion 13-21, 22-20, 21-19 after a tantalisingly close match for her maiden Super Series Premier crown and second in as many weeks following the victory at the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold event in Bangkok last Sunday. For the Chinese, it was her first loss in five straight finals and first to Saina in two years, making the head-to-head record 4-2 in her favour.
�I just love coming here. I get great crowd support and I feel like a champion everytime I step on the court,� said Sania of the tournament which was awarded Super Series Premier status from Super Series tag last year and is at par with the prestigious All England Championships.
The final lasting 1 hour 5 minutes provided a great spectacle to the badminton fans with both players indulging in long rallies ending with power-packed smashes.
Saina was at the receiving end before pulling off a memorable win.
She looked out of sorts in the first game and posed little resistance against her opponent�s down the line smashes and crafty net play. Li was one game up 15 minutes into the contest.
The Indian, realising the need of a change in strategy, attacked more in the second and gained a 13-8 cushion. That was when Xuerui�s fighting capabilities came to the fore as cut Saina�s lead to 13-12 and then went on to take six straight points from 14-18 to secure two match points. Saina, however, managed to regain her composure to level the match.
The decider had everyone on the edge of their seats with Saina trailing 10-11 at the mid-game break. Saina, however, did manage to maintain a slender lead from there on. Unforced errors started to creep in from Li�s racquet and Saina earned crucial points by attacking more on the body and was ahead 19-16. The 22-year-old did not squander the advantage this time around and shut the door on her opponent with a forehand winner.
A couple of net cords going either way added more excitement towards the finish.
Earlier in Semifinals, she squandered a comfortable 16-9 lead in the first game to let Ji Hyun Sung come back into the contest. The South Korean made it 17-17 before earning a game point on 20-19. Saina, however, was able to arrest her opponent�s momentum by taking the next three points.
Saina was put under pressure in the second game too. Trailing 13-16, she fought back by running through the next five points and closed out the match with a forehand smash.
However, Parupalli Kashyap�s impressive run in the tournament ended with a loss to local favourite Simon Santoso in the men�s singles semi-finals.
Kashyap lacked the consistency he possessed in the earlier matches and went down 15-21, 12-21 to the World No.9.
The 26th-ranked Indian would be happy with his maiden last four finish in a Super Series Premier event where he stunned top seed Chen Long and beat another higher-ranked player, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus of Denmark.
Kashyap had raised hopes of another upset going into the semifinals but he could not put up a fight against Santoso, a player he is yet to beat in four meetings.
He had his moments in both the games but unforced errors, especially at the net, let him down.
It was 14-14 in the first game before Santoso gained a 18-14 lead to draw first blood in the match. Besides the lethal smashes and delightful net play, the home crowd cheering for him on every point added to hisa dvantage.
It seemed Kashyap would fight back after taking a 5-1 lead in the second game. But that wasn�t to be as he committed far too many errors at the net and failed to defend Santoso�s powerful smashes on most occasions.
Saina Nehwal Interview
Question: Last year your performances were erratic. We know you are a very positive and hardworking person, but can you give us details about how you prepared yourself mentally and physically to come out of the slump?
Saina: I�m not entirely sure people are right when they call the year I had in 2011 as a �slump� year. In 2010, I won 3 super series and 1 Grand Prix gold . In 2011, I won 1 Grand Prix and was runner-up in 3 Super Series � were my performances in 2011 much less than my results in 2010? I think I performed as well as always last year; I remain a positive person and I am confident I will show better results in the future.
Question: You were injured very frequently. Has the workload been too hard on you? Are you completely fit now?
Saina: It was actually just one injury which persisted for 2-3 months. It was a tough phase for me but I went through rehabilitation and my physios helped me recover. I am fully fit now.
Question: With the Olympics on the horizon, you are India�s biggest hope in badminton. Are the expectations of the country a burden on you? Does the pressure affect you?
Saina: Not at all. I am a professional athlete and pressure is a part of every professional sport. It will be a dream come true for me if I could defeat the Chinese on my way to a medal, so if there�s pressure, there�s also incentive. As of now, I am doing rigorous training for the Olympics with P. Gopi Chandji, so things are looking up at this moment.
Question: Have you modified your training structure for the Olympics? Anything special you are working on?
Saina: There is nothing much new that has been added, but the training has been more focused and intense. It�s all about getting your basics right and focusing on your goal, which in my case is perhaps the hardest of them all � an Olympic medal.
Question: Can you tell us about your training schedule?
Saina: My training Schedule is 6 to 7 hours per day except Sundays. It includes different types of exercises, court play, practice matches, gym and amusement and stamina building, all under the guidance of my coach Gopi Chand sir. I am a very active person and I love working out so I almost never skip my training sessions. I believe at the international level, it is fitness that counts the most. That�s because when you are competing at that level, everyone already has the skills; the player who wins is the player whose mental and physical fitness is better than his/her opponent. So yes, at the international level, fitness is absolutely paramount.
Question: What important tournaments are you playing before you participate in the Olympics?
Saina: I have already played the All-England, Swiss Open and Malaysia Open. The India super series is in April, and I will of course be participating in that. As for my schedule after the India super series, I will be deciding that in consultation with my coach.
Question: You are currently ranked No. 4 in the world. Do you have any ranking goals in mind for the rest of the year?
Saina: The three girls ranked above me are Chinese. Over the past year, these girls have been winning tournaments while I have been ending up as the runner-up in most of those tournaments. So my first focus should be on turning my runner-up finishes into title victories; I am not concerned about my ranking right now.
Question: You have been signed up by Olympic Gold Quest. What role has it played in your success?
Saina: Yes, the OGQ provides me with moral and financial support and with all the facilities that I require for my game. They are like this big, powerful force behind me. My job is to produce results that match their expectations, and that has been a strong motivating factor for me. The OGQ also supports players from other games and raises funds to provide financial backup for players across a wide variety of sports, so yeah, I think the OGQ has been doing a very good job developing the state of sports in India.
Question: How much of a priority is a podium finish in the upcoming Olympics for you?
Saina: I am set to give my best. Yes, to win a medal for India in the Olympics is my dream. But I will go step by step; I will give my hundred percent and leave the rest to God.
Question: What do you do in your leisure time when you are not playing badminton?
Saina: I get very little leisure time, and even in that time I constantly formulate strategies to win matches. But I like to go shopping in my free time. I also make it a point to catch up on my sleep in my off days. Occasionally I�ll go and check out the latest Hindi movie release.
Ace badminton player Saina Nehwal has almost as many gold medals under her belt as her age. The 22-year old, who is currently ranked the fifth best badminton player in the world, remains one of India�s top hopes for the upcoming Summer Games in London.