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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014

Other Sport

Super Saina makes a mark in Denmark
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 21, 2012
First Published: 19:40 IST(21/10/2012)
Last Updated: 01:59 IST(22/10/2012)
Saina Nehwal poses with the trophy after her victory against Juliane Schenk of Germany during their women's singles final match at the Danish Open badminton championship in Odense, Denmark. AFP Photo

Saina Nehwal took just 35 minutes to add the Denmark Open to her growing list of titles, as she won her first tournament after the London Olympics.

Her bronze at the quadrennial mega event was preceded by two back-to-back titles and the world No 4 Indian looks in no mood to take it easy even after a two-month break.

On Sunday, she defeated world No 7 Juliane Schenk of Germany 21-17, 21-8, though the win came after a physically demanding match in Odense.

Fresh again
"There were a lot of things which I did after the Olympics which made me fresh but every tournament is tough," said Saina. "My right knee was not in perfect shape but I thank god for giving me the energy to win the title."

Saina's brisk start was countered by the German, who equalised at 12-12.

Energy-sapping rallies saw the two players use deception, power, pace and skill to unnerve the other. Schenk has a reputation of being a fighter, and Saina had to dig deep to find ways of docking points off her.

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Superior play
Saina won the game 21-17, but in the second, Schenk unleashed her powerful smashes. Saina did lose a few points initially, but matched the German in power to compensate for them. She raced ahead to a comfortable 17-8 lead - a gap too large for Schenk to bridge.

After her shots found the net thrice to bring the Indian on match point, Schenk did something quite uncharacteristic.

She did not attempt to return Saina's serve, finally giving in to the third-seeded Indian's blitzkrieg.

The tournament featured nine out of the world's top 10 women shuttlers but the Chinese players suffered shock defeats, with Schenk and Saina taking out the last two in the semis. 

Saina did not drop a game in this event and the title is all the more special as her nemesis, Wang Yihan of China, whom she had never beaten before, retired during their match.

The Hyderabadi will now participate in the French Open Super Series in Paris next week, where she has been given the top billing.


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