Saina Nehwal on Sunday became the first Indian woman to win a badminton singles medal. Nehwal beat Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon in straight games in what a superb turnaround from the India, to make it to the semi-finals. She’s assured of a bronze.
Saina held a 10-5 head-to-head record against Intanok before Sunday’s quarter final clash at the Asian Games, but that didn’t matter.
The start was terrible for the Indian, as Intanon didn’t take time in creating an 8 point lead for herself. Intaton can be erratic, but today was not going to be the day, as Saina moved gingerly, her shots lacking confidence. Slowly but steadily, the 2018 CWG gold medallist started bridging the gap. And suddenly it was 17-17. As Saina frowned, and fist pumped in anger and grit, Intanon failed to come up with any answers.
The Indian staged an incredible comeback to win 5 back to back points to take the opening game 21-18. In their last four meetings, Saina has dropped only one game against the former world champion.
The result of the first game was showing in the body language of the two players in the second. Saina was determined to ensure she didn’t squander her lead. And as her shots looked more and more confident, the errors started creeping in in Ratchanok’s game. And in no time, she won 21-18, 21-16 with a rally to finish things off. The Hyderabadi is the Queen of Grit!