Saina Nehwal Becomes World No. 1 at YONEX-SUNRISE India Open Superseries

The YONEX-SUNRISE India Open came to an electrifying conclusion on March 29th. Team Yonex shuttlers reached the finals in every discipline, making for a riveting lineup of matches on the tournament’s final day.

The biggest news came in women’s singles by way of local shuttler Saina Nehwal (NANORAY 900SHB-02LX), who brilliantly captured the title at her country’s biggest annual tournament. She made history with the win, becoming the first Indian woman to reach world No. 1 (rankings to be released on April 2nd). The top spot has been occupied by Chinese shuttlers for over four years. Saina exhibited phenomenal performance, winning all of her matches in straight-games. Her victory marks the first time an Indian has won the tournament in any discipline since it was upgraded to Superseries status.

Saina faced Ratchanok Intanon (VOLTRIC 70 E-tuneSHB-02LX) in her final match. The first-seeded Saina took hold of the lead of immediately, and didn’t let it go even once. The 20-year-old Thai shuttler came down on Saina with a variety of strong hits, but was unable to penetrate the Indian’s rock-solid defence. Saina grasped victory backed by enthusiastic cheers from everyone in the stands, the final score coming to 21-16, 21-14.

The semifinal on the previous day saw 2013 and 2014 world champions Ratchanok and Carolina Marin (NANORAY Z-SPEED, SHB-02LX) face off in a tense outing, with the Spaniard striking first, grabbing a staggering 17-9 lead. However, Ratchanok came back with a vengeance, ferociously seizing ten consecutive points, proceeding to win the first game at 21-19. Game 2 proved to be a see-saw affair, the two shuttlers viciously one-upping the other through to game point. It was Carolina’s tenacity that prevailed, getting the edge over Ratchanok at 23-21. The two shuttlers continued to compete neck and neck in the decider, taking the game to a tie at 20-20. In the end it was Ratchanok who advanced after the 84 minute encounter, winning 21-19, 21-23, 22-20.

No. 1 seeds Ayaka Takahashi (VOLTRIC 80 E-tune)/Misaki Matsutomo earned their third women doubles Superseries title, defeating No. 2 seeds Luo Ying/Luo Yu at 21-19, 21-19. Viktor Axelsen (ARCSABER 11SHB-87EX) and Mads Pieler Kolding (ARCSABER 11SHB-87EX)/Mads Conrad-Petersen were the finalists in men’s singles and doubles respectively. Christinna Pedersen (NANORAY 800SHB-02LX)/Joachim Fischer Nielsen were the mixed doubles finalists.

When rankings are updated on April 2nd, along with Saina’s advancement to world No. 1, Carolina is set to occupy the No. 2 spot for the first time, and Viktor will make it to No. 5 for the first time in his career as well.


YONEX-SUNRISE India Open Superseries Tournament Results

Women’s Singles

[1] Saina Nehwal (NANORAY 900SHB-02LX)(IND) def. [3] Ratchanok Intanon (VOLTRIC 70 E-tuneSHB-02LX)(THA) 21-16, 21-14

Men’s Singles

[2] K. Srikanth (IND) def. [6] Viktor Axelsen (ARCSABER 11SHB-87EX)(DEN) 18-21, 21-13, 21-12

Men’s Doubles

[3] Chai Biao/Hong Wei (CHN) def. [7] Mads Pieler Kolding (ARCSABER 11SHB-87EX)/Mads Conrad-Petersen (DEN) 21-18, 21-14

Women’s Doubles

[1] Ayaka Takahashi (VOLTRIC 80 E-tune)/Misaki Matsutomo (JPN) def. [2]Luo Ying/Luo Yu (CHN)

Mixed Doubles

[2] Liu Cheng/Bao Yixin (CHN) def. [1] Christinna Pedersen (NANORAY 800SHB-02LX)/Joachim Fischer Nielsen (DEN) 21-19 21-19

*Photo of Saina taken at the 2015 Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships