New Delhi: Saina Nehwal created history on Saturday as she became the first Indian woman shuttler to attain the world number one ranking after her closest challenger for the spot, Spain’s Carolina Marin, lost in the India Open Super Series semifinal here.
Though the official rankings will be out only on Thursday next week, the 25-year-old Indian has been assured of her ascent to the top owing to Marin’s loss in the last-four stage.
The reigning world champion, who was seeded second, lost to third seed Thai Ratchanok Intanon 21-19 21-23 22-20.
Prakash Padukone had the distinction of being the No. 1 men’s badminton player but Saina became the first Indian woman to achieve this feat.
Saina plays Japan’s Yui Hashimoto in the second semifinal but the Indian ace will be No. 1 irrespective of her result on Saturday.
The London Olympic bronze-medallist has won a staggering 14 international titles in her glorious career, and most recently she became the first Indian woman to make the finals of the prestigious All England Championships in Manchester.
On Friday, Olympic bronze medallist, Saina sailed past Indonesia’s Hana Ramadhini 21-15, 21-12 in the women’s singles competition to stay just one win away from becoming the first Indian woman to achieve the world number one ranking.
After beating Hana, Saina said, “I played her for the first time. She is a tricky player. Indonesians have good wrist and they make you work hard. All of them are very talented, women’s singles is all about keep running.”
Earlier, when asked about her inching towards the world number one spot, Saina had said, “It is not about the number one or number two spot right now. I am concentrating on one match at a time and on winning them,” added the world number two.
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