India’s ace shuttler and former World No.1 Saina Nehwal held her nerve to see off a strong challenge from Chinese Taipei’s Pai Yu Po and win her first-round women’s singles tie at the $9,00,000 Indonesia Super Series Premier badminton tournament in Jakarta on Tuesday.
The three-time champion came back after losing the second game to register a 21-11, 19-21, 21-15 win over World No.23 Yu Po in a contest which lasted for an hour and three minutes.
Right from the outset, Saina played some delightful shots but Yu Po just would not give up easily. She fought till it was 5-5 and then made it 14-11 in the first game but then Saina surged ahead, grabbing seven back-to-back points and with it the opening match.
Saina continued her momentum in the second game and moved to a 10-5 lead but Yu Po refused to surrender and rallied back to 12-10. She then showed steely determination to collect the remaining points with Saina breathing down her neck and levelled the scoreline at 1-1.
In the decider, the present World No.8 flew past Yu Po in the first half bagging a lead of 11-5. The 25-year-old from Taiwan once again caught up with the Indian at 13-13. But then Saina stepped up her game and managed to ensure there were no further setbacks as she sealed the deal at 21-15.
Saina will next lock horns against Indonesian Fitriani Fitriani on Wednesday.