On a comeback trail after limping out of the second round of Rio Olympics earlier this year, ace shuttler Saina Nehwal said on Sunday that she expects to return to full fitness by the end of next month. Saina, who went under the knife barely a week after her Olympic loss to then World no. 61 Maria Ulitina, returned to court in China Open last month.
The 26-year-old lost her opening round encounter to Thailand’s Porntip Buranaprasertuk in China, but reached the quarterfinals of her next two events- Hong Kong Super Series and Macau Open Grand Prix Gold.
“There are no miracles post-surgery. It takes time to get to top fitness. I am very happy that I could play quarterfinals after coming back from rehab, and after playing for just two weeks on court. I think by January end I should be in good shape,” she said on the sidelines of All India Ladies Amateur Golf Championships at Delhi Golf Club in the Capital.
“I will choose tournaments depending on fitness. There are no major tournaments coming up, so I am not very devoted. The only thing that I am looking after is my fitness levels and I hope the results will be good,” she added.
Saina started the year ranked second in the world, but despite a promising start, will end the year as World No. 9. She, however, is not brooding over the past.
“It was a good year. Actually, a bit of good and bad. I won the Australian Open and also had to go through the surgery. Injuries are part and parcel of a player’s life, but it is all past now. I have learnt a lot from it, where I need to get stronger and which all areas I need to work on. I am feeling quite confident.”
In her absence, Rio Olympics silver-medallist PV Sindhu represented India with some distinction in recent past, winning the China Open and reaching the final in Hong Kong. Saina believes Indian badminton is in safe hands.
“I think Indian badminton all over is doing very well. I would say along with Sindhu, Sameer (Verma) played Super Series finals in Hong Kong. All of them are doing extremely well. Badminton is doing very well in India and that’s why we are getting all the recognition,” she said.
Nur Damiyan outlasts Diksha
Malaysia’s Nur Durriah Damiyan defeated local girl Diksha Dagar to win the USHA 100th All India Ladies Amateur title at the Delhi Golf Club on Sunday.
The scores at the end of the 36-hole final show that the 21-year-old Nur Damian of Malaysia beat Diksha 7&5 on the 31st hole, but in reality the match was far closer, at least in the morning session. Ireland’s Maria Dunne beat Tsai Wei Chia of Chinese Taipei 3&2 in the clash for the third place.