As world No. 5 Saina Nehwal got ready to take on Porntip Buranaprasertsuk, the arena reverberated with chants of “C’mon Saina, c’mon Saina”. The queen was ready to roll.
It turned out to be a one-sided contest as Saina crushed the Thai shuttler 21-10, 21-13 in the Asian Badminton Championships on Wednesday. Saina was off to a flying start, opening up an 11-0 lead against Porntip, but soon lost a point as a result of a weak backhand volley, which Porntip picked up and gave it back in a drop.
But the ace India shuttler had only started building the pressure. At 12-5, Saina hit the shuttle high and caught Porntip on the wrong foot.
Porntip started to wilt and Saina slowly wrested control. At 18-8, Saina returned a hard smash to which the Thai had no answer. Porntip’s game was clearly deteriorating.
It was clear that Saina had done her homework well and knew where to place the shuttle. She then went full throttle. At 21-10, Saina dragged her opponent towards the net and the next thing she did was roll her wrist for a soft flick that sealed the first game in her favour.
In the second game, Porntip faltered thrice at the net in succession, allowing Saina to sniff her weak point. With Saina leading 5-1, Porntip lost her confidence and pressed the panic button.
With Saina leading 11-6, Porntip switched to plan ‘B’ and tried to pull Saina at the net, but the Indian got wind of it and a quality flick earned her a point.
At 19-13, the crowd went berserk, demanding the queen to wind up the proceedings and Saina obliged. A weak half volley from Porntip set Saina up to hit the winning drop.