Where: Jakarta, Indonesia
June 26, 2009 : Nineteen year old Saina Nehwal, ranked eighth in the world, beat China’s Wang Lin (world number three). Saina was seeded sixth in the tournament. She took 49 minutes to beat Wang 12-21, 21-18, 21-9 in an exciting final. Saina became the first Indian to win a super series badminton tournament. In the past, two male badminton players have won the All England Championship title. Prakash Padukone won it in 1980, and Pullela Gopichand, who is currently Saina’s coach, won the title in 2001.
Saina took home $18,750 as prize money from the Indonesian Open. The Badminton Association of India announced a cash prize of Rs. 200,000 for the player. However, her dream of pocketing back-to-back titles came to nought when she crashed out of the quarter-final of the Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold badminton tournament days later, on Friday, June 26. The Chinese player Xin Wang took just 26 minutes to defeat Saina, the second seed, 21-14, 21-10 in a one-sided match. Saina cited ‘mental fatigue’ as the cause of her poor performance in the tournament.
Back in hometown Hyderabad in India, Saina said she was in no hurry to work her way to the top. She said her immediate target is the World Championship which is scheduled to take place in August in Hyderabad. Her current world ranking is number seven.