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Saina Nehwal creates history, enters Badminton World Championship finals

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

World No.2 shuttler Saina Nehwal created history by becoming the first Indian to enter the final of the badminton World Championships as the second seed defeated a stubborn Lindaweni Fanetri 21-17, 21-17 in the women’s singles semi-final here on Saturday.

Olympic bronze medallist Saina prevailed in a 55-minute encounter against the world No. 29 Indonesian. In the final on Sunday, the 25-year-old Indian will meet defending champion and top seed Carolina Marin of Spain, who overcame eight seed South Korean Sung Ji Hyun 21-17, 15-21, 21-16 in one hour and 30 minutes. Saina holds a 3-1 advantage in career meetings against the world No.1.

Going into the match, Saina was the heavy favourite but her opponent got a very good start. Saina took some time to attain momentum as Fanetri held a 6-2 lead. But once the former World No.1 founder her rhythm, she seized the initiative and pushed her rival on the back foot.

Fanetri was forced to play catch up but remained close to Saina’s score at the Istora Senayan stadium. The Hyderabadi held a three-point lead at 14-11 but Fanetri kept coming back, equalizing at 15-all. They were involved in long rallies for the next two points.

However, at 17-17, Saina utilized her experience and finished the game in her favour by taking three consecutive points. Saina’s deft net play played a key role in getting the better of the local talent of her same age.

At the start of the second game, when the score read 2-1 in favour of strong favourite Saina, Fanetri suffered a knock to her heavily bandaged right knee after a fall but continued her fight. Urged on by a vociferous partisan crowd, Fanetri kept fighting on even though she seemed to be struggling in her movement on the court.

At the break, the second seeded Indian held a 11-10 lead at the break before Fanetri equalized. Saina grabbed three points at a stretch to make it 14-11 but Fanetri equalized at the same score with sharp drop shots.

But Saina fought back for a 17-14 lead before her opponent employed two sharp smashes to make it 16-17. Saina got two more points before her opponent reduced the deficit to one at 18-17.

However, Saina once again wrestled the key moments as she bagged three consecutive points to seal the game 21-17 and march into the final.

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Rio Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain Costliest at Premier Badminton League (PBL) Auction in New Delhi

India's Rio Olympic silver medallist P.V. Sindhu went to Chennai Smashers for Rs.39 lakh

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Rio Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain. Flickr

New Delhi, November 9, 2016: Rio Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain was bagged by Hyderabad Hunters for Rs.61.5 lakh, becoming the costliest buy in the Premier Badminton League (PBL) auction for players held here on Wednesday.

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The second highest bid went for South Korean woman shuttler Sung Ji Hyun, with Mumbai Rockets paying Rs.60 lakh for her.

Denmark shuttler Jan ‘O’ Jorgensen proved to be the third costliest after he was bought for Rs.59 lakh in the auction held here at a city hotel. The Dane went to Delhi Acers.

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However, India’s Rio Olympic silver medallist P.V. Sindhu went to Chennai Smashers for Rs.39 lakh – way below expectations. Her illustrious compatriot, Saina Nehwal went to Awadhe Warriors for Rs.33 lakh.

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Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen too got a price of Rs.39 lakh landing up with Bengaluru Blasters, as did Wan Ho Son who was clinched by Delhi.

None of the men’s singles badminton “Big Three” players – Chinese duo of Chen Long and Lin Dan and Malaysian superstar Lee Chong Wei — will play in the PBL. (IANS)

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From Sania to Saina: Rise of Indian women in sports

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By Ila Garg

Since ancient times, sports has been an integral part of Indian history. We have some legendary sportsmen like Milkha Singh, Kapil Dev, Dhyanchand, etc. ruling the charts. Today, women are also becoming the face of Indian sports. Women sportspersons these days are taking Indian sports to a new height. Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal have gradually emerged as popular youth icons and are creating ripples in the stagnant ocean! NewsGram takes a look at their journey:

Sania MirzaSania Mirza took India tennis to the global level. In the days when the patriarchal society of India was reveling in the notion that women cannot excel in sports, a determined Mirza changed the course of Tennis. Born on 15th November 1986, she started playing tennis at an early age of six. She found her first coach in her father Imran who diligently took her talent forward and carved it well so that she could be an inspiration for others like her.

She started taking part in international tournaments from the year 1999 and soon became a pro at the game. Her strength became evident from her very first game. In 2003, she managed to enter the list of world’s top 100 tennis players. She is the youngest Indian player to win the Grand Slam title too, thus creating a stir amongst the masses.

The ace player Sania is currently ranked world number one in the women’s doubles (she retired from singles recently). Now, she is all set to receive Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, the highest Indian honour in the field of sports. It is indeed a big achievement for the star tennis player as she is the second tennis player after Leander Paes to be recommended for this award. NewsGram congratulates her for being an inspiration to many people around the world and opening new doors for the tennis aspirants.

Saina Nehwal has proved her mettle as a promising Indian female Badminton player and continues to reach heights. Like Sania Mirza aroused the interest of the youths to pursue the game of tennis, she is opening a whole new arena for them to follow.Saina Nehwal

She was born on 17th March 1990 with the game instilled in her genes as both her parents, Dr. Harvir Singh and Usha Rani were former State Badminton Champions. Her training started at the age of eight and since then the badminton racket has been her companion. In the year 2003, she made her presence felt when she won the Junior Czech Open Tournament.

Subsequently in 2004, she became the National Junior Champion and in 2005, she won the title again. This shows her dedication towards the game. In 2006, she won the bronze medal at the Commonwealth games thus creating a benchmark for herself. From small steps, she soon took leaps as she won the Superseries Title in 2009.

She has been decorated with awards like Arjuna Award (2009), Padma Shri Award (2010) and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award (2010). Her zeal has motivated many others to follow her path.

Sania Mirza and Saina Nehwal

From Sania Mania to Saina Style, Indian women have been rising in the field of sports and overcoming all hurdles. NewsGram feels that more and more women should come forward and take sports as career. Only required tools are diligence, hard work, and passion.

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Saina enters world badminton semis, receives accolades from sports icons

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India's Saina Nehwal plays against China's Yihan Wang during their womens singles badminton semifinals match during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Wembley Arena August 3, 2012. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT BADMINTON SPORT OLYMPICS)

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

In a marathon match that lasted an hour and 12 minutes at the 9,000-seater Istora Senayan, World No.2 Saina came out with a sensational performance to oust former world champion Yihan Wang of China 21-15, 19-21, 21-19 and advance to the last four stage after seven years and six attempts.

Saina will now take on local talent Lindaweni Fanetri for a place in the summit clash, against whom the Olympic bronze medallist has a 2-1 advantage in career meetings.

Sports icons on Friday took to Twitter to congratulate ace shuttler Saina Nehwal for reaching the singles semi-finals at the badminton world championships on Friday.

“Heartiest congratulations to #Saina,” Indian shuttler and Saina’s contemporary Jwala Gutta posted on the social networking site, along with a few ‘clap’ emoticons.

V.V.S. Laxman wished Saina “good luck” for the upcoming matches and hoped she would win the title.

“That was an exciting match 🙂 Well done @NSaina Good luck for your upcoming matches and hope you will win the World Championship Title,” posted Laxman.

“Congratulations @NSaina on entering the maiden semis of World Championship. All the best for the Gold,” wrote Indian left-handed batsman Suresh Raina.