Updated: March 31, 2015 12:24:42 am
Apart from winning the title at home, Saina Nehwal became the first Indian to secure the top spot in the women’s singles rankings.
It’s been a good week for Indian badminton. Saina Nehwal and K. Srikanth won the two singles events at the India Open Super Series — badminton’s equivalent of an ATP tour event. Apart from winning the title at home, Nehwal became the first Indian to secure the top spot in the women’s singles rankings. This should not have come as a surprise. Rankings are simply a way of determining the most consistent performer — Nehwal has been among the top 10 for the last five years and ranked second in 2010.
The world rankings are based on a player’s 10 best performances over a 52-week period. China’s Olympic champion, Li Xuerui, who had topped the rankings since December 2012, only played nine tournaments in this particular period because of a foot injury. This may have helped Nehwal, but she deserves credit for becoming increasingly consistent. In the past, she would win big tournaments and then suffer upsets soon after. This time, she has stayed in good form for months. While her final appearance at the All England tournament and the India Open win received a lot of attention, it was her triumph at the China Open that was the big breakthrough. Nehwal was the first non-Chinese person to win the event.
The 22-year-old K. Srikanth’s exploits over the past year should not be forgotten either. Like Nehwal, he won the China Open, beating five-time world champion Lin Dan in the final. There are just nine active players who have won against the Chinese. Currently world No 4, Srikanth has an innate knowledge of attack and is tipped to make it all the way to the top. Lin himself has remarked that Srikanth is, “in recent times”, the “most complete player” he has seen.
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