Saina Nehwal's biggest strength on the badminton court is her self-belief. Going into the semifinal of the Singapore Super series badminton tournament against world number 10 Zhou Mi of Hong Kong, the Indian believed that she could beat her more fancied compatriot.
Though that target could not be achieved, Nehwal came tantalisingly close before bowing out 17-21, 21-19, 21-11 in a 55-minute marathon against Mi. Saina took the first game after coming from behind and looked like she would pull out an upset over the former All England champion when she clawed back to 19-19 in the second game. But the experienced Zhou closed out the game and then the decider to end the dream run of the Indian.
"She won that game on sheer experience. Both points after 19-19 were very long rallies. But she controlled them to perfection," Saina told Hindustan Times from Singapore. "In the decider she began playing very close to the net and I made many unforced errors."
Despite the defeat, Saina was happy with her performance here. "This is only the first tournament in the run up to the Olympics. But I am happy the way I have played," said Nehwal who will play the Indonesia Super Series and Thailand Grand Prix.