Saina fortifies No.1 ranking with Xue Yao's defeat

Published on April 03, 2015 15:06:15 PM
Sports
HYDERABAD: Indian Grandmaster Saina Nehwal celebrated her ascension to the highest point of world rankings in a thumping style by defeating Chinese player Xue Yao 21-13, 21-9 to reach the quarterfinals of the Malaysia Open Super Series in Kuala Lumpur.

The 25-year-old was officially pronounced as the No.1 after Badminton World Federation announced its weekly ranking on Thursday.

Nine years after she began playing at the senior level Saina secured the top rank surprisingly. Despite the fact that she came as close as No.2 in 2010, she slipped to No.9 before regaining the No.2 rank a month ago. Saina needs a solid performance at Malaysia to keep up her positioning.

A good show by Olympic champion Li Xuerui or title holder Carolina Marin will influence Saina's rank. Anyhow, Saina looked in great touch amid her 30-minute demolition of Yao.

Saina got off to a 4-9 lead and never turned back. Despite the fact that Yao came as close as 11-12, she looked at ease all through the game. The Indian has in fact avenged last year’s Malaysia Open loss against Yao with this victory.

Saina will now clash with China's Sun Yu in the quarterfinals. She effectively beat Sun Yu at the All England and may not think it a troublesome job on Friday.

In the meantime, the women’s singles will witness a mouth-watering battle when Xuerui clashes with the former world champion Wang Yihan in the quarterfinals. On the off chance that she wins her quarterfinal, Saina will meet one of these greats on Saturday.

However, Indian men have failed to join the party started by Saina as they suffered a series of straight losses against the Chinese. Top positioned Indian, Kidambi Srikanth went down before Tian Houwei 14-21, 18-21, while Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap attested no match for title holder Chen Long 10-21, 6-21.

Indonesia Masters champion HS Prannoy also went through the same phase in the same court. Prannoy got unsuccessful in bringing any discomfort to five-time world and two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan. The Chinese legend broke free in the second half leaving no alternative for Prannoy.

The women’s duo of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, experienced another early exit. They went down battling against sixth seeds Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and Greysia Polii of Indonesia 23-21, 8-21, 17-21.

The straight-game thrashing by Srikanth was surprising. Srikanth was unpredictable on Wednesday but looked great against Houwei.

However, Houwei was recovering at his best as he barely gave any space for Srikanth. What’s more? He also played some splendid smashes at critical junctures.