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Saina Nehwal advances to semi-final of India Open, one match away from World No. 1 ranking

Saina Nehwal will become the first non-Chinese world number 1 since 2010, if she makes the final of the India Open.

Nehwal will become the first non-Chinese world number 1 since 2010, if she makes the final

Saina Nehwal has sailed her way into the semifinals of the 2015 Indian Open by defeating Indonesian Hana Ramadhini 21-15, 21-12 at the Siri Fort Complex in Delhi.

Nehwal is on the verge of creating history as she just needs to reach the final to become world number 1, ahead of Chinese shuttler Li Xuerui. The only ever Indian to have reached that spot is Prakash Padukone, who achieved that feat in 1980.

However, the 25-year-old is not keeping an eye on the rankings; she said, “I don’t know too much about the ranking calculations and how they work, and frankly I’m not even thinking too much about it.”

Due to Li’s absence from the tournament, she is set to lose 7,800 points as she had earned those many points from her runner-up finish last year. Having started the week at 79,214 points, she will end the week on 71,414, while Nehwal is guaranteed to end the week with at least 74,381 points after bettering her quarterfinal performance from last year. The only thing that can stop Nehwal from getting to No. 1 now is if Carolina Marin wins the tournament and the Indian fails to reach the final.

Nehwal has had a comfortable time in the tournament so far; she has not dropped a single set. In the semifinals tomorrow she will face Yui Hashimoto from Japan, who has a stronger head-to-head with the only victory.

If Nehwal does get to No. 1, her feat will also usher in the first ever non-Chinese world number one in women’s singles since 2010.

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