Saina-conquerer Wang Shixian clinches Swiss Open crown
Sports can be a great leveller. One day you can be on the top of the world and on any other day you can slip to a new low. Disappointments can quickly turn into joy in a matter of weeks.
The same was the case with Chinese shuttler Wang Shixian, who was licking her wounds after suffering a quarterfinal defeat at the hands of India’s Saina Nehwal at the All-England Badminton Championships in London.
Just more than a week later, Shixian exacted sweet revenge against Saina for the All-England loss by showing her the championship exit door at the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold event in Basel, Switzerland, to set up a final date with rising Thailand shuttler Ratchanok “Nong May” Intanon. Incidentally, it was Ratchanok who pulled the plug on Saina in the semifinals of the All-England Badminton Championships.
Shixian, ranked number seven in the world, took the court against the world number eight Ratchanok on Sunday with a positive frame of mind. The win over world number two Saina took her confidence to a new high, which was evident in the way she played.
The fourth seed Chinese was flowing like a river from the outset even before Ratchanok could even settle into any kind of rhythm. Looking to play to her strengths, Shixian covered the court nicely and engaged her opponent in long rallies, often forcing the Thai lass to commit errors.
The Chinese appeared solid on both flanks and was equally nifty at the net. Ratchanok struggled to hit the straps and was unable to plot the downfall of Shixian.
Shixian at one stage reeled off five consecutive points to race away to a comfortable lead midway through the opening game before maintaining the same momentum in the latter part to close out the game at 21-16.
The talented Ratchanok needed to produce something out of the ordinary in the second game to stay in the contest. She needed to map out a strategy to unsettle the in-form Shixian but the Chinese girl was in no mood to let her guard down.
Like the opening game, Shixian was sitting pretty with a cosy lead midway through the second game, making things really difficult for Ratchanok. The confidence of the Thai girl continued to dip as the match wore on. Errors came thick and fast from Ratchanok’s racquet.
Shixian pocketed eight points on the trot, which is a fair indication of the one-way traffic in the second game. She closed out the second game at 21-12 to clinch the Swiss Open.