Saina Nehwal
Saina Nehwal is the lone survivor for India in the women's singles competitionReuters

Olympic bronze medallist Saina Nehwal created history on Saturday by becoming the first Indian woman to attain world No.1 ranking in women's badminton.

The 25-year-old Indian badminton player reached the top of ranking table after third seed Ratchanok Intanon from Thailand defeated the reigning world champion Carolina Marin 19-21 23-21 20-22 in the first semi-finals of the India Open Super Series badminton tournament at the Siri Fort sports complex, New Delhi on Saturday.

Saina Nehwal further consolidated her position by beating Yui Hashimoto of Japan in the second semi-finals on Saturday. The official rankings will be out only on Thursday next week but Saina's position is confirmed now irrespective of the outcome of her final match against Thailand's Ratchanok Intanon.

Meanwhile, India President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have congratulated her on their Twitter pages on achieving the feat.

"Congrats Saina Nehwal on becoming World no 1 in Badminton; well deserved honour; best wishes for Indian Open Semi Final #PresidentMukherjee," tweeted Mukherjee.

"The phenomenal accomplishments of @NSaina make us very proud. I congratulate her on being the World Number 1," wrote Modi.

Saina is the only Indian woman and only second Indian to achieve the feat. Prakash Padukone is the other India player who became world No.1 men's badminton player.

The bronze medallist had earlier thanked her coach and her parents after being pushed to second position in world rankings.

"World number 2 in today's ranking... would like to thank Vimal Kumar sir and my parents for the support," Saina wrote on her Facebook page on 12 March.

"Number one is not at the back of mind right now. The only thing I am focussing on is playing all the tournaments and I want to win them," Saina told CNN IBN when asked about the possibility of reaching world No.1 ranking. "I want to perform well and beat the players against whom I was losing. I don't want to lose the way I was losing in the last three years. I want to be more consistent. When you are playing well, other things fall in place." 

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