After losing to Tai Tzu Ying at the Indonesian Masters final last Sunday, Saina Nehwal admitted her nemesis was the best player in the world right now but was not unbeatable. Tai Tzu, who claimed five Superseries titles last year, has been the top-ranked women's player for more than a year now.
Tai Tzu Ying clinched her first title of the year at the Indonesian Masters after beating Saina Nehwal in a one-sided final. After winning three Superseries titles in 2016, the "Queen of deception" won an incredible five last year beating the likes of Carolina Marin, PV Sindhu, and Akane Yamaguchi in the finals. At the age of 23, she is behind just Wang Yihan (20) and Li Xuerui (13) in the total number of women's singles Superseries titles won with 12.
However, her opponent from the Indonesian Masters final, Nehwal, admitted that the Taiwanese
"You see the number of tournaments she has won last year, so it is not only the Indians who are losing to her. She is the best player right now, she is tricky, she is very focused and consistently reaching the finals and we have to look up to her," Saina said, reported PTI.
"Tai Tzu almost lost to Michelle Li in the first round at Indonesia, so we will have to figure out a way to beat her. I think it is a matter of time, we have it in us to do well against her."
Tai Tzu has a positive head to head record with almost all of her contemporaries including Nehwal (8-5) and PV Sindhu (7-3). However, in the recently concluded PBL, Sindhu was the only player who defeated the World No.1 in a one-on-one matchup when the Ahmedabad Smash Masters toon on the Chennai Smashers.
While Sindhu did bring up the fact that she had emerged victorious the last time the two met, she was quick to add that the different point system in the PBL should not be discounted.
"She is definitely doing well and when you are mentioning about the losses, you also have to mention that I had beaten her in the PBL,” joked Sindhu.
“Well, of course, it was the different scoring system. She is doing well, she is consistent. But it's not like we can't beat her. I always feel it depends on how one plays on that day, we might have ups and downs and we need to be focussed to beat her."
Saina, who appears to have recovered from a career-threatening knee injury she suffered in 2016, has been fighting her way back to the top of the game and she showed signs of her former self during the Indonesian Masters where she beat the likes of Sindhu and Ratchanok Intanon on her way to the final. Saina, however, said that she is just concentrating on maintaining her fitness for the rest of the season rather than worrying about
"The only thing I am looking to do is stay fit and train hard and yes it has been an excellent week at Indonesia for me. Thanks to Gopi sir, we didn't have much time after the PBL, so basically it was 5-6 good sessions of preparation before the Indonesia Open and I came out with a good result," said the Indian national champion.