India's Super Girls Locked in Battle of Rankings - The New Indian Express

India's Super Girls Locked in Battle of Rankings

Published: 18th March 2014 06:42 AM

Last Updated: 18th March 2014 06:42 AM

The latest rankings released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) shows Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu involved in a neck-and-neck duel for supremacy. Saina is eighth while Sindhu is ninth. Sindhu’s steady climb has helped her inch closer to Saina. The performance of these two will be closely watched henceforth.

While Sindhu gained 4,900 points after the Swiss Open and has 56,332 points overall, Saina collected 3,850 and has 57,602 in all.

Sindhu stunned All England champion Wang Shixian (China) in the quarterfinals before losing to Yu Sun in the semifinals, while Saina lost to Wang Yihan Wang in the quarterfinals. National coach Pullela Gopichand feels Sindhu’s emergence is good for Indian badminton. “It excites me because you have two top-ranked players in the world. It is a healthy competition,” he said.

Former international Sanjay Sharma said Sindhu has become a hot player. “She is phenomenal. Beating the top Chinese players and beating the All England champion in three successive matches is a great feat. It can’t be a fluke. The Chinese fear her now,” he said.

Sharma added Sindhu has to be a little more consistent. “She beats the top players and then loses to a lower-ranked player the next day. This is something she has to overcome. She is there at the top. She has arrived at the big stage,” he pointed out.

On Saina, Sharma said she is still 23. “It’s about confidence which is a bit low at the moment. She has to change her tactics. It’s more in the mind. She is an experienced player and has to work on different strategies. For instance, her opponents are not allowing her to play near the net. I remember when they tried these tactics against Prakash Padukone, the legend forced his opponents to play near the net which was his strong point. Saina has to follow the same tactics. She should force the rallies and the pace.”

Sindhu is on cloud nine. Fresh from her semifinal appearance in the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold, she is looking forward to the Indian Open Super Series at New Delhi from April 1.

“It’s a big tournament. I’m confident of putting up a good show,” said Sindhu, who returned from Basel on Monday. On her third successive victory over All England champion Shixian Wang, Sindhu said it was a good win. “I was patient and kept the shuttle in the court. I was confident,” she said.

However, Sindhu felt she should be more consistent. “It was a close game (against Yu Sun in the next round). At 19-20, it was anybody’s game in the third game. She is very tall and I have to plan my game accordingly.”

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