Ever since Pusarla Venkata Sindhu shocked London Olympic gold medallist Li Xuerui of China, there has been flood of praises for her exemplary display. However, the best compliment had come from none other than champion shuttler Saina Nehwal.
But the stunning show by Sindhu at the China Masters Super Series tournament did not come as a surprise to Saina. Saying that the 17-year-old Sindhu is a much improved player, the London Olympic bronze medalist predicted a bright future for the rising star.
“Winning against Olympic gold medalist Li Xuerui is a a great achievement. Xuerui is a big player and beating her in her own country needed a lot of guts. I’m happy the way Sindhu played and carved out a victory,’’ said Saina, who is recovering from a left knee injury. Saina had withdrawn from China Super Series and Japan Super Series tournaments. Her first tournament after the Olympics would be the Denmark Open Super Series tournament.
Saina said that for the last few months, there was some intensity in Sindhu’s practice sessions with coach Pullela Gopichand.
“Her long sessions with her coach (Gopichand) has helped her to become a stronger player. Her on-court movements have become very good,’’ she said.
Talking about Friday’s match against Xuerui, Saina said she was very impressed the way Sindhu handled the match. “She showed good strokes, kept her nerves and played better rallies. She did not get overwhelmed by the occasion or by the home crowd,’’ she pointed out.
Now that Sindhu has posted a stunning win, there will be more attention on her. “All the coaches, particularly the Chinese, would start analysing videos of her game. The real test starts now. It is important to maintain consistency,” she said.