By Shikha Sreenivas
Saina Nehwal defeated Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong 22-20, 22-20, to win the Malaysia Masters Grand Prix Gold title on Sunday, dispelling any concerns over her recovery from a knee injury that caused her to make an early exit from the Rio Olympics.
She had to go under the knife after the Olympics, and her recovery period was expected to be longer, but she was back on the court three months later at the China Open. Upon her return, the former world number one was met with some skepticism by the world of sports, and was retained for her base price of Rs 33 lakh by the Awadhe Warriors, after finding no takers at the Premier Badminton League auction.
Nehwal faced other early exits in tournaments and missed the qualification mark for the Dubai World Superseries Finals. Previously, Nehwal was the first Indian to win a super series title in 2009 at the Indonesia Open. She became the first Indian woman to win a gold medal in badminton at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Her performance in Malaysia, in a game of close calls, could be a prediction that 2017 is a promising year for the 26-year-old.