Home2018Saina Nehwal is a threat in Wuhan

Saina Nehwal is a threat in Wuhan

(*credit image: Zee News)

She was a first round casualty last year but India's newly crowned Commonwealth Games women's singles champion Saina Nehwal will be a draw card in this year's Badminton Asia Championships which begin in Wuhan on April 24.

The 28-year-old Nehwal gave her badminton career a shot in the arm as she clinched her second Commonwealth Games women's singles title with  21-18, 23-21 win over compatriot P.V. Sindhu in the final in Gold Coast, Australia on Sunday.

Her latest win over Sindhu puts Nehwal 4-1 ahead in the head-to-head count between the two Indian rivals.

Nehwal won her first Commonwealth Games gold in New Delhi in 2010, defeating Malaysia's Wong Mew Choo 19-21, 23-21, 21-13 in the final.

The 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist is unseeded in Wuhan but with her current form the former world number one is ready to throw in her challenge.

Last year Nehwal was a first round casualty – losing to Japan's Sayaka Sato in the first round 21-19, 16-21, 18-21.

A resurgent Nehwal was India's toast in the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast – clinching India's winning point in their 3-1 win over defending champions Malaysia in the mixed team final.

Nehwal, who featured and won all her matches in the mixed team, defeated Soniia Cheah 21-11, 19-21, 21-9 in the women's singles for India's winning point for India's historic first mixed team gold medal in the Commonwealth Games.

Nehwal, who has two bronze medals under her belt in the Asian Championships, is now in the right frame of mind to change the colour of the medal in Wuhan.

She won the bronze in 2010 (New Delhi), defeating Li Xuerui 21-17, 21-11 and 2016 (Wuhan), defeated Wang Yihan 21-16, 21-14.
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Last year when she was still recovering from a knee surgery she sustained in the Rio Olympics (2016), Nehwal was a first round casualty in Wuhan, losing to Japan's Sayaka sato 21-19, 16-21, 18-21.

Ranked No 12 in the world in the latest BWF rankings, Nehwal opens her Asian Championships campaign with a first round match against a qualifier from Group C.

If she makes into the second round Nehwal will face either world number seven Nozomi Okuhara (5th seed) or China's Gao Fangjie (ranked No 29).

With her new found confidence following her huge success in the Commonwealth Games the Indian hope is certainly a threat to her rivals in Wuhan. 

She is agile and combined her powerful smashes to defeat Sindhu for the title in Gold Coast.

Badminton fans can expect a resurgent Nehwal to go far in Wuhan this year.
 

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