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Saina Nehwal - Olympics 2012


It is easy to write something about a player after he/she has won something big.   I am writing this right after Saina Nehwal has lost her semi finals to Wang Yihan in the Olympics today. 

I have to confess; I have not seen a lot of Saina before the Olympics.  I have watched her play a few times here and there and read about her exploits over the past couple of years.  I was very impressed with what I saw.  There is lots to like about this young lady and very little to criticize.  She has a complete game and seems unfazed by whatever is happening around her.  I am sure she was feeling the pressure of the nation as she played the Olympics – but looking at her, you could hardly tell.   I compared her facial expressions from the final points in her win in the quarter finals against Tina Baun and the loss in the semi-finals to Wang– to see if she was reacting differently to win and loss.  Nothing.

Reminded me of another great player of the modern age whom I see displaying the same quality – Roger Federer.  Like it says in the famed walls at Wimbledon “If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same….”

Her court speed and all-court game seems to be her obvious strengths.  Her line calling was not great – she lost too many points by guessing wrong.  And her smash needs to get stronger.  She looked at least a foot shorter than her last 3 opponents – and one wonders if that is too huge a disadvantage for her.    I am no expert in this game; my only advice to her would be to start faster off the blocks.  Badminton is such a quick game and I feel someone who takes a quick lead increases his or her chances of success disproportionately. 


Saina – well played, it was great watching you.   Hope you win the bronze.

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