Saina Nehwal Clinches Denmark Open

As expected, Saina Nehwal defeated German Juliane Schenk in straight games to emerge triumphant in the Denmark Open Super Series in Odense on Sunday. The World No 4, seeded third at the event, packed off the World No 7 in just 35 minutes, winning 21-17 21-8. She leads their head-to-head series 6-3. The title was the Hyderabadi’s fourth of the year. And the best part is that Nehwal hasn’t lost a final in 2012 — she won the Swiss Open in March, and followed that up with back-to-back titles in Thailand and Indonesia in June. Sunday’s triumph made her richer by $30,000. Nehwal had beaten World No 1 Yihan Wang in Saturday’s semifinal tie. It was her first victory over the Chinese ace in seven attempts.

The 22-year-old was playing for the first time since her bronze medal-winning performance at the London Olympics. More importantly, her win was a telling riposte to those who thought she was ‘wasting’ time attending felicitations and promotional events all over the country. “I thank Denmark and the Indian fans here for supporting me. I never expected to win this tournament,” Nehwal said. “There were a lot of things which I did after the Olympics which made me fresh, but every tournament is tough. My right knee was not really in perfect shape but I thank god for giving me the energy to win the title.” That knee’s been bothering her since the London Games, but Nehwal was always focused on the task at hand. P Gopichand, her coach and mentor, attributed Sunday’s win to her training regime. “She was able to train well,” Gopichand said. “(In the final), Saina started off well and once she got the lead, she did not give her opponent any chance. She was smashing very well and her whole game looked very good. She looked sharp at the net too.”

The start of the match was delayed by a few minutes after a fire alarm went off at the venue. It turned out to be a false one! Both players waited at their respective ends of the court with Schenk looking seemingly restless. Nehwal, though, stood next to the umpire, smiling confidently. Nehwal wasted little time, clinching the first game in only 19 minutes. She won four consecutive points before allowing the German to get on to the board. Nehwal was seldom troubled but on one occasion, she did allow Schenk to claw back from a 5-9 deficit. But the German, who was up 10-9, could not consolidate and Nehwal simply ran away with it. The second game took even less time with Nehwal picking up as many as seven consecutive points before closing the game and, with it, the match.

List of titles won by Saina

  • Indonesia Super Series Premier (2009, 2010, 2012)
  • Singapore Super Series (2010)
  • Denmark Open Super Series Premier (2012)
  • Hong Kong Super Series (2010)
  • Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold (2011, 2012)
  • Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold (2012)
  • India Open Grand Prix Gold (2009, 2010)
  • Olympics: Bronze (2012)
  • Commonwealth Games: Gold (2010), Bronze (2006)

News source: DNA

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