Matured Saina Sounds Cautious


Mumbai, Jun 3: Never the one to get intimidated by her opponent’s stature or shy away from declaring her targets before every tournament, Saina Nehwal has surprisingly not set any goals for the three-stop South-East Asian tour, beginning with the $200,000 Singapore Super Series (June 9-14).

‘‘I guess I’ve become more mature. I’ve now played enough to realise that every opponent is tough. Earlier I wouldn’t give too much importance to my opponent’s stature and felt I could win every match. But now, after playing against these girls week after week, I’ve realised that even a qualifier can be a tough opponent,’’ a ‘measured’ Saina told TOI on Tuesday.

Incidentally, the Hyderabadi opens against a qualifier in Singapore according to the draw released on Tuesday. Saina, in fact, should have a safe passage till the quarter-finals where she is likely to bump into World No. 4 and third seed Wang Lin of China. But the Indian says she’s not looking that far.

‘‘Even if it’s a qualifier, the first match is always tricky. Besides, qualifiers always have the advantage of being used to the court conditions. Adrianti Firdasari (who Saina could face in the second round) too is a good player. She played quite well in the Sudirman Cup. So, I’m just going to take it match by match. The idea is to get a few good matches under my belt ahead of the World Championships at home in August,’’ added Saina, who made the semi-finals in Singapore last year.

Saina, however, was candid enough to admit that it was time before she could win a Super Series event. ‘‘Girls like Zhou Mi are far more experienced than me. I’m preparing hard but it’ll take some more time before I win one. But, I’d like to win one this year,’’ said 2008’s most promising player.

Meanwhile, the second-ranked Indian woman after Saina, Aditi Mutatkar, too has an easy opener against Dutch Judith Meulendijks.

The men, however, were handed a tricky draw with Chetan Anand facing either Polish 7th seed Przemyslaw Wacha or former World No. 2 Bao Chunlai of China in the second round. Chetan, ranked 12th, has an easy start against Malaysian Choong Hann Wong but national champion Aravind Bhat was unlucky to draw Indonesian third seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro first up.  


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