Saina Nehwal looked in good touch, showed great hunger and proved her class to defeat Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong in the finals of the Malaysia Masters on Sunday.
The former world number one clinched the match in straight games, 22-20, 22-20, which lasted for 46 minutes to win the year's first BWF Grand Prix Gold event.
The first game of the final is always interesting, and both the players were looking to take 1-0 lead. There were interesting rallies between the two players, who were playing some wonderful badminton. Saina played some astonishing shots from the baseline along with quality net shots, which helped her win the first game.
The Thai girl started the second game on a bright note, but Saina came back strong to take 7-4 lead. Like the first game, Chochuwong was making life tough for the Indian shuttler, whose body language looked better.
There was nothing much to choose between the two players, who were not giving easy shots to the other. The match was tied at 11-11 in the second game, leading to an interesting match. But, Saina brought her experience into play, playing some clever shots to run into 17-14 lead. Despite a valiant effort from the 19-year-old, who stretched Saina in the second set too, the Indian shuttler closed out the game 22-20.
Though the competition did not comprise big names from the world of badminton, this title will mean a lot to Saina, who has been troubled with injuries in the recent past. This is her first title after her knee surgery in August 2016.
What looked even more impressive was her fitness and performance, which seems to have definitely improved since the end of the last year. Saina won the Malaysia Masters without losing a single game, which will give her immense confidence in the future competitions in 2017, where some top players will feature.