Saina Nehwal blasts out double warning
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Saina Nehwal has struck stunning form at just the right time ahead of the 2012 London Games where she hopes to deliver India a first Olympic badminton medal.
The world number five followed up victory in the Thailand Open earlier this month with a third Indonesian Open triumph on Sunday. The battler looks more than ever a live challenger to the might of China's women at the Wembley Arena from late July.
In Sunday's final, Nehwal saved two match points against China's latest hotshot Li Xuerui before grinding out another gutsy three setter 13-21 22-20 21-19.
"It was really, really tough," said Nehwal. "I love the crowd, I love Indonesia. I feel like a champion when I step on to the court here."
Nehwal, a hugely popular figure in India, was 18 at the Beijing Olympics where she reached the quarter-finals only to lose out in three sets to Indonesian Maria Kristin Yulianti.
"I was so close to it, he told Reuters in an email. I should have won that third and final set when I was leading 11-3 but lost it 14-21. Such opportunities do not come every time. I am unlucky in that way."
The former world junior champion struck back the following year to become the first Indian to win a Super Series tournament when capturing her first Indonesian Open title.
The 22-year-old rates the victory the high point of her career, defeating China's Wang Lin, who went on to win the world title in 2010.
It was all the more satisfying in that it was a victory over such a prominent Chinese. It was another three-setter and I won the last two, including 21-9 in the decider.
In 2010, on home territory and once more with the aspirations of the country swirling around her, Nehwal won Commonwealth Games gold, surviving a match point against Malaysia's Wong Mew Choo.
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