Last week Saina Nehwal vowed to return to the top spot of the BWF world rankings, and she has delivered. The latest rankings list sees her oust Li Xuerui and leapfrog past her to the top spot. The Chinese shuttler has fallen to third.
Both the players decided to give last week’s Singapore Open the slip, along with the new World number 2 and All England Badminton Championship winner Carolina Marin. But the decision to skip the tournament proved costliest for Li, who won last year’s edition.
Since the Chinese couldn’t match her performance from the previous year she dropped a lot of points from her total, which allowed Nehwal (who fell at the first hurdle last year, and was thus defending no points) to go past her.
The turnaround has been remarkable for Nehwal, who was languishing in the ninth spot in June. The 25-year-old regained her form to climb steadily up the rankings, ending 2014 as World No. 4. She has only gone from strength to strength since then, reaching the top spot for the first time two weeks ago in a landmark achievement.
The Indian has been in top form this season, winning the Indian Open and Syed Modi International and finishing runner-up at the All England Badminton Championship. She also reached the semifinals of the Malaysian Open but lost to Li, and that incidentally was the reason she lost her No. 1 ranking after a reign that lasted just one week.
Going forward, Nehwal’s toughest competition for the top spot will likely be Marin, who has had the edge over the Indian in the last few tournaments. Only time will tell how long Saina can hold on to the number 1 spot in her second stint.Published 16 Apr 2015, 13:54 IST