Ever since i overcame Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand in a tough three-setter in the quarterfinal, I was in a zone where I could do nothing wrong. I had got used to the courts so well that I was able to control the shuttle at will and also the rhythm of the match.
The semifinal against Indonesian Pia Bernadet finished quickly and I was fresh and raring to go against Lydia Cheah of Malaysia. I was going into the final as the favourite and knew the pressure was on me to perform. But I was relaxed and only thinking of how to counter her attacking style.
I had played Lydia when I was training in Malaysia under Misboon Sidek before the Singapore Super Series. I knew she loves to attack and tries to finish the rally really fast. I adopted the simple approach of playing at a fast pace and tried to extend the rally to frustrate her.
My moves bore fruit immediately as she struggled to play her natural game. I opened up a 9-2 lead in no time and then used my half smashes and flat tosses to build on the advantage.
The first game proved to be a cakewalk but I was aware the second wouldn't be easy as I was playing with the drift of the AC behind me. It meant I had to slow down the pace of my shots since even the normal pushes could go out. I didn't get a good start, as I was more worried about the drift. Instead of playing the shuttle near the corners, my tosses were going mid court and Lydia was getting a chance to finish the rally. For that brief period, she had the upper hand and opened up a 15-10 lead.
It looked like everything was lost but then I wasn't going to make the same mistake I had committed during the Beijing Olympics quarterfinal against Maria Kristin Yulianti. I had desperately tried to finish the game but today I focused on slowing down the pace and frustrating Lydia by playing the shuttle down.
The ploy worked as she made a couple of unforced errors while trying to force the pace and I was able to catch up on 15-15. Serve kept changing till 18-18 before I got two successive points thanks to her unforced errors. I did drop a match point but managed to finish it off on the next. I was a bit lucky given the number of unforced errors Lydia made in the second game after taking the lead. But then playing with an AC drift behind you is never easy and you need some amount of luck at times.