Saina Nehwal on Thursday became the first woman to reach the quarter-finals of BWF World Championships for eight consecutive times. She sailed into the women’s singles quarterfinals after defeating 2013 champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand 21-16 21-19.
Nehwal, who had clinched a silver and a bronze at the 2015 and 2017 editions, has been consistently giving strong performances at the tournament, becoming the only woman to reach the last-eight stage since 2009 at the ongoing BWF World Championships.
The reason behind Nehwal’s win against Intanon is her coach Pullela Gopichand. Nehwal said after the match, “It is a very good win. She is known for a deceptive game. Second game was going my way, but suddenly she played some difficult strokes, she was everywhere and made it 19-19. At that point, Gopi sir played a big role. He told me what to do and I followed that and the game turned in my favour.”
“Pressure is less on me now because the last few tournaments I haven’t been able to cross the quarterfinals but I have played well at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Championship. But I can see that the form sometimes goes here and there but I am happy it is coming back in important events.”
She has now set up a meeting with Olympic champion and two-time world champion Carolina Marin of Spain. Talking about her next match against Marin, Saina said, “I have played her at Denmark Open last, she is quick and aggressive and it would be a challenging match for me and I will just look to give my best.”
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