Thu , 27 Jun 2019


 India’s Saina Nehwal waged a tough battle against local hope Ratchanok Inthanon to win the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold badminton event here on Sunday.

The world No.5 shrugged off a slow start to beat 11th-ranked Inthanon 19-21, 21-15, 21-10. It was Saina’s second title of the year after the Swiss Open in March.

The Indian was the lone top-10 player in the tournament, but the win could only give her confidence going into the London Olympics next month.

Saina trailed 9-15 in the first game and unlike her semifinal against another Thai Porntip Buranaprasertsuk, she could not cut the deficit.

She changed gears in the second game, racing to a 8-2 lead and winning it comfortably. The Hyderbadi was in control in the decider to seal the victory.

“It (the win) was not easy as I was involved in a lot of tough matches. Now the focus is to do well in Indonesia. All the top Chinese players would be taking part so the competition will be a lot tougher than here,” said Saina.

Gopi Chand lauds Saina

National coach Pullela Gopi Chand lauded Saina's performance and said she remained positive despite being down to start with.

“Saina started off slowly. Actually Inthanon was playing some very hard smashes in the initial part of the first game but Saina almost caught up with her and lost very closely,” Gopi Chand told PTI from Bangkok.

“But in the second game, she was confident and opened up a good lead and maintained that till the end. In the third game, she dominated throughout. Saina played the kind of game which was important because, she played a lot of net dribbles and got points from the net,” he added.