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Swiss treat for Saina, ends title drought

other Updated: Mar 19, 2012 01:15 IST
HT Correspondent

While India were battling Pakistan in Dhaka on Sunday, Saina Nehwal was at war with another neighbour. She was fighting to retain her Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold title in Basel, Switzerland, and the Chinese world No.3 Shixian Wang became the latest top-five scalp of the Indian.

Saina beat the former Asian champion in straight games in the $125,000 event to end a yearlong title drought. The 21-19, 21-16 victory comes on the heels of three unsuccessful final appearances after she had won the Swiss Open in March 2011 and the Hyderabadi, who turned 22 on Saturday, could not have asked for a better birthday gift.

After the world order in women's singles saw major changes following the conclusion of the All England Championships last week, Saina has finally managed to break the Chinese monopoly in 2012. The top four tournaments of the year - Korea Open, Malaysia Open, German Open and the All England - were won by the Chinese, but it seems the world No.5 Indian has found her killer instinct after a barren year.

"Between the All England, where she lost in the quarters, and this tournament, she has worked a lot on her backcourt game," coach, P Gopichand, said. "She was putting herself under pressure, as she was not winning. She needed to ease the pressure and be patient, and it worked this time.