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Saina is Swiss Open champ again!

Dev Sukumar
EXPERT COLUMNIST
Editor's Pick
1.59K   //    18 Mar 2012, 22:05 IST

Saina Nehwal

Basel: It’s right up there with her best.

Saina Nehwal regained her golden touch with a stunning, straight-games victory over world No.2 Wang Shixian to defend her Swiss Open GP Gold title here on Sunday.  But it wasn’t just about the title in this instance – it was the fact that she’d finally erased her recent record over the top Chinese that would thrill her. In that sense, the Swiss Open win marks her resurgence and a definite contender for an Olympic medal.

Wang Shixian is regarded as the finest of the Chinese, but on Sunday, she had no answers to Saina’s pace and power. The two have a one-all head-to-head record, but Saina completed overturned her recent lack of form and galloped to victory in 48 minutes.

The Indian established an early lead, going up 10-2 and 13-7 before Shixian inched closer and finally drew level at 16-all. Saina somehow found the reserves to put in a burst and keep her nose in front as she edged ahead 21-19.

The second game followed a different pattern as Shixian went up 11-7. The lead slowly evaporated as the Indian eventually caught up at 13, and it was a tense battle from then on. From 15-all, however, Saina got four straight points that all but ended the contest.

It turned out to be a perfect birthday gift for the girl who turned 22 on Saturday.

Meanwhile, in other matches, China’s Chen Jin took the singles title beating Lee Hyun Il of Korea 14-21 21-9 21-17. China also took the women’s doubles, while Indonesia’s Tontowi and Lilyana Natsir followed up their All England triumph with a Swiss Open title. Japan’s Kawame and Shoji Sato won the men’s doubles over Taipei.

Dev Sukumar
EXPERT COLUMNIST
Dev S Sukumar is the recipient of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Media Award, 2011. He is India's most widely travelled badminton writer, having covered several international tournaments, including the Olympics, the Asian Games, the CWG Games, World Championships, the All England, the Denmark Open, the Malaysia Open, etc. He has covered badminton for over ten years now. During this period he has met fascinating characters, witnessed great matches, and has authored a biography of Indian badminton great Prakash Padukone. He has written on the game for several publications, including Sports Illustrated, Mint, Badminton Asia magazine, The New Indian Express, Hindustan Times, DNA and IANS. He tweets at twitter.com/shuttlemania
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