Saina Nehwal

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Saina Nehwal
साइना-नेहवाल नरेन्द्र-मोदी.jpg
Nehwal, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Personal information
Birth name Saina Nehwal
Country  India
Born (1990-03-17) 17 March 1990 (age 25)
Hisar, Haryana[1]
Residence Hyderabad, [Telangana]
Height 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)
Weight 60 kg (130 lb)
Handedness Right-handed
Coach Vimal Kumar
Women's singles
Career title(s) 21 (3 Super Series Premier, 6 Super Series, 7 Grand Prix Gold, 1 Grand Prix & 4 others)
Highest ranking 1 (2 April 2015[2][3])
Current ranking 1 (8 October 2015[4])
BWF profile

Saina Nehwal (About this sound pronunciation  ; born 17 March 1990) is an Indian badminton player who is currently ranked No.1 in the world by Badminton World Federation Women's Singles 2015.[7][8][9] She is the first Indian to win a medal in Badminton at the Olympics.[10] She achieved this feat by winning the Bronze medal at the London Olympics 2012 on 4 August 2012.[11] She is also the first Indian after Prakash Padukone and the first Indian woman to become world number 1.[7] Besides these, she is the first Indian to win the World Junior Badminton Championships and was also the first Indian to win a Super Series tournament, by clinching the Indonesia Open on 21 June 2009. Saina is supported by the Olympic Gold Quest.[12]

Saina was initially coached by S. M. Arif a Dronacharya Award winner, and then by Pullela Gopichand till 2014 September. Saina is the reigning Indian national champion and is currently coached by the former Indian badminton champion and national coach Vimal Kumar. Saina Nehwal plays for Hyderabad Hotshots in the Indian Badminton League.[13] She won silver at 2015 BWF World Championship becoming the first Indian woman to do so.

Personal life[edit]

Saina Nehwal, second daughter of Harvir Singh and Usha Rani, was born in a Hindu Jat family at the University Hospital of the Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University in Hisar.[1][14] Her father worked in CCS HAU she completed her first few years of schooling at Campus School CCS HAU, Hisar.[15] The family later shifted to Hyderabad.[16] Nehwal also has a brown belt in Karate.[17] Saina did her Xll from St.Anns College Mehdipatnam Hyderabad.



In 2006, Saina became the under-19 national champion and created history by winning the prestigious Asian Satellite Badminton tournament (India Chapter) twice, becoming the first player to do so. In May 2006, the 16-year-old Saina became the first Indian woman and the youngest player from Asia to win a 4-star tournament - the Philippines Open.[18][19] Entering the tournament as the 86th seed, Saina went on to stun several top seeded players including the then world number four Xu Huaiwen before defeating Julia Wong Pei Xian of Malaysia for the title. The same year Saina was also the runner up at the 2006 BWF World Junior Championships, where she lost a hard fought match against top seed Chinese Wang Yihan. She did one better in the 2008 by becoming the first Indian to win the World Junior Badminton Championships by defeating ninth seeded Japanese Sayaka Sato 21–9, 21–18.

She became the first Indian woman to reach the quarter finals at the Olympic Games when she upset world number five and fourth seed Wang Chen of Hong Kong in a three-game thriller. In the quarter-finals Saina lost a nail biting 3-gamer to world number 16 Maria Kristin Yulianti. In September 2008, she won the Yonex Chinese Taipei Open 2008 beating Lydia Cheah Li Ya of Malaysia 21–8 21–19.[20] Maria Yulianti had earlier lost her quarter-final match to Pia Bernadet, Saina's semi-final opponent, thus denying Saina a rematch. Saina was named "The Most Promising Player" in 2008.[21] She reached the world super series semifinals in the month of December 2008.[22]

On 21 June 2009, she became the first Indian[23] to win a BWF Super Series title, the most prominent badminton series of the world by winning the Indonesia Open. She beat Chinese Wang Lin in the final 12–21, 21–18, 21–9. Saina on winning the tournament said, "I had been longing to win a super series tournament since my quarter final appearance at the Olympics". Saina is on the par with the likes of Prakash Padukone and her mentor Pullela Gopichand who both won the all England championships which are of similar status to the super series. In August 2009 she reached the quarterfinals of world championship losing to the second seed Lin Wang.


Saina successfully led the Indian Women Team to the Quarter-finals stage of the 2010 Uber Cup finals. Saina became the first Indian Woman to reach the semi finals of 2010 All-England Super Series before losing to eventual champion Tine Rasmussen. Top seeded Saina reached the semifinals of Yonex Sunrise Badminton Asia Championships 2010 losing out to unseeded eventual champion Li Xuerui of China. Saina's Coach Gopichand advised her not exert too much pressure on herself due to the overwhelming home crowd support. Saina wins the 2010 India Open Grand Prix Gold, beating Wong Mew Choo of Malaysia in the final and thus justifying her billing as top seed in the tournament. She won a prize money of $8,280 for winning this BWF Grand Prix Gold tournament. Nehwal, again seeded no.1 in the Singapore Open Super Series 2010, entered the finals defeating World champion Lu Lan of China. Saina won the second Super Series title of her career by beating qualifier Tai Tzu-Ying of Chinese Taipei in the final of the Singapore Open 21–18, 21–15. But the fact that she won the tournament in the absence of all the top 5 ranked players (who all happen to be Chinese), takes a little sheen away from her path breaking victory. Saina won a prize money of $15,000 for winning this BWF Super Series tournament. Saina reached a career high of world no. 3 in the women's singles badminton world rankings on 24 June 2010.[24] Saina defended her Indonesia Open super series title in three tough games against Sayaka Sato of Japan, 21–19 / 13–21 / 21–11.This is her third super series title and her third successive title following wins at Indian open, Singapore Super series.[25] She again won the top prize money of $18,750 for winning this BWF Super Series tournament. On 15 July 2010, with 64791.26 points Saina Nehwal reached a career high world ranking of No. 2 only behind Wang Yihan of China. 2nd seed Saina, a tournament favourite, crashed out of the 2010 BWF World Championships in Paris after losing to 4th ranked Chinese Wang Shixian in straight sets 8–21, 14–21. She although equalled her tournament best performance, as she was also a losing quarter-finalist in the last edition held in Hyderabad. She subsequently dropped a spot to be No. 3 in the world rankings.

Top seed Saina, won the gold medal in the Women's Singles badminton event in the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi.[26] She beat Wong Mew Choo of Malaysia 19–21 23–21 21–13. After her win Saina said, "when I was a match-point down, it was like a shock. It was a big match and winning it means a lot to me. Even many years from now, those present here will always remember how Saina won the gold. It is a proud feeling".[27] In the BWF Super Series ranking for the year 2010 (which only considers the performances of players in the elite world super series tournaments), as on 27 September 2010, Saina has dropped to No. 7 from a high of No. 1 after giving a miss to 2010 China Masters Super Series and 2010 Japan Super Series due to her preparation for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.[28] As on 5 Dec 2010, for the first time in the year Saina Nehwal dropped out of the top 10 best performers in the 2010 BWF Super Series rankings.

Saina Nehwal confirmed her participation for the 2010 Hong Kong Super series to held from 7 to 12 Dec 2010 and is also the penultimate super series tournament of the year. This would be Saina's first super series tournament after a gap of more than 5 months since her win in the 2010 Indonesia Super Series in June 2010. On 12 December 2010, Saina Nehwal defeated Wang Shixian 15–21, 21–16, 21–17 in the final of the 2010 Hong Kong Super Series to win her fourth career Super Series title.[29]


4th seed Saina Nehwal crashed out of the 2011 Korea Open Super Series Premier on 27 January 2011 in the 2nd round. She was defeated by the Japanese Sayaka Sato in a tight 3 set match with score 17–21,21–19 and 21–11. 5th seed Saina, was disappointed when she was defeated by Eriko Hirose of Japan at 2011 All England Super Series Premier on 11 March 2011. She was defeated in straight sets with a score of 21–11 and 22–20. It was her second early exit of the year after being defeated in Korean Premium Super Series earlier in January. One week later, on 17 March 2011, she met Eriko Hirose again (in the second round of the Wilson Badminton Swiss Open), but managed to win this time in three games 21–15, 17–21 and 21–11 – on her birthday. 2nd seed Saina Nehwal beat Ji Hyun Sung of South Korea 21–13, 21–14 to win the Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold badminton title on 20 March 2011. Saina posed an early exit from the Indian Open Super Series in Delhi. She disappointed the home crowd being defeated by Ai Goto of Japan in straight games 21–17 and 21–19.

Saina Nehwal faltered after a good start as she lost to the then world number three Wang Xin of China in the finals to finish runner-up in the 2011 Malaysian Open Grand Prix Gold tournament on 8 May 2011. Saina Nehwal participated in the 2011 BWF Double Star Sudirman Cup Mixed team event, she won her first match against Tzu Ying Tai of Chinese Taipei which was a tough three setter 21–10, 12–21 21–17, but India lost the tie 3–2. She was then shocked in her second match by current Junior World Champion & 16-year-old teen sensation Ratchanok Inthanon of Thailand losing in straight sets 21–14, 22–20, but India managed to beat Thailand 3–2 in the tie to book a spot in the quarterfinals of the Elite mixed team event for the first time in the history of the tournament. In the quarterfinals against the mighty Chinese, Saina put up her best performance and beat the then World number two Xin Wang in straight sets 21–15, 21–11, but still the Chinese managed to move into the semi finals with a 3–1 win over India. Saina lost to Li Xuerui of China in the quarterfinals of the Thailand Open GP Gold.

Defending Champion Saina lost to Cheng Shao-chieh of Chinese Taipei in the second round of Singapore Open Super Series. Saina, in her attempt to record a third straight win at the Indonesia Open Super Series Premier, reached the finals where she lost to Wang Yihan of China to finish as runner-up, on 26 June. Nehwal crashed out of World Championship 2011 as she lost 15–21, 10–21 to World Number 3 Wang Xin of China in a lop-sided women's singles match. Saina, who reached the quarterfinals in the last two editions of the event, had to be contend with yet another last-eight finish. She lost in quarter finals of 2011 China Masters Super Series against World No. 1 Wang Yihan of China in straight games 8–21, 12–21. Saina lost in semi finals of 2011 Japan Super Series against Juliane Schenk of Germany in straight games 19–21, 10–21. In the 2011 Denmark Super Series Premier, she lost to 17-year-old teen Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan in straight games 19–21, 13–21 in the second round.[30] Saina repeated her shocking second round exit in the 2011 French Super Series as she lost to World No. 16 Li Xuerui of China in straight games 18–21, 29–30. Saina lost in quarter finals of 2011 Hong Kong Super Series against World No. 7 Tine Baun of Denmark in straight games 16–21, 15–21.[31]

Saina was defeated in the very first round of 2011 China Open Super Series Premier by World No. 8 Bae Youn-joo of South Korea 21–15, 22–24, 15–21.[32] During the season ending tournament in December, Saina Nehwal created history by becoming the first Indian singles player to reach the final of BWF Super Series Masters Finals after defeating World No. 5 Tine Baun of Denmark to cruise 21–17, 21–18 in the semifinals of the 2011 BWF Super Series Masters Finals in Liuzhou (China).[33] She went on to lose the final 21–18, 13–21, 13–21 against the World No. 1 Chinese Wang Yihan in a contest lasting over an hour.[34]


Saina successfully did her Swiss Open Title by defeating World No 2 Wang Shixian of China 21–19 21–16 on 18 March 2012,[35] a day after she turned 22 years old. On 10 June 2012, Saina defeated Thailand’s Ratchanok Inthanon 19–21 21–15 21–10, to lift the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold title.[36]

On 17 June 2012, Saina Nehwal won the Indonesia Open Super Series by defeating World No. 3 Li Xuerui of China 13–21, 22–20 21–19.[37][38] It was her 3rd Indonesia Open title.[39] On 4 August 2012, she won the bronze medal at the London Olympics when China's Wang Xin retired from the match after an injury with the match at 18–21, 0–1.[40] On 21 October 2012, she won the Denmark Open Super Series Premier after defeating Wang Yihan 21-12 12-7 in the semifinal.[41] Yihan got retired hurt in this match after losing first set and trailing in second set. In the final Saina defeated Juliane Schenk of Germany in two straight sets to lift her first Denmark open trophy.[42]


On 26 January 2014 Saina defeated World Championship bronze medalist P.V. Sindhu 21-14, 21-17 to win the Women's Singles of India Open Grand Prix Gold Tournament.[43] On March,2014 World No. 4 Saina Nehwal, who had a win-loss record of 4-2 against the Chinese ace Wang Shixian, crashed out of the 2014 All England Super Series Premier after losing her quarter-final match.[44] Saina took revenge of All England loss by defeating Wang Shixian in semifinals of 2014 Australian Super Series. In final on June 29, 2014 Saina defeated Spain's Carolina Marin 21-18, 21-11 to win Women's Singles of 2014 Australian Super Series.[45] The win helped her to reach the ranking of World no. 7, climbing two spots.

She became the 1st Indian woman to win the China Open Super Series Premier by beating Japan's Akane Yamaguchi 21-12, 22-20 in the final.


Defending Champion Saina Nehwal won the 2015 India Open Grand Prix Gold by defeating Spain's Carolina Marin in the Final. She became the first Indian woman shuttler to reach the finals of All England Open Badminton Championships, but lost to Carolina in the final. On 29 March 2015, Saina won her maiden women's singles title at the India Open BWF Super Series beating Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand. This assured her of becoming World number 1 when the latest BWF rankings were released on April 2. Thus, she became the first Indian women's player to be World No.1 in badminton.[46] On 16th Aug 2015, Saina went down fighting to Carolina Marin again, in the Final of World Badminton Championships held in Jakarta, settling for the Silver.

Career titles & runners-up[edit]

Individual titles (21)[edit]

S. No. Year Tournament Opponent in final Score
1 2005 India Satellite[47] India Aparna Popat[48] 11-8, 11-6
2 2006 Philippines Open Malaysia Julia Wong Pei Xian[49] 21-15, 22-20
3 2006 India Satellite[50] South Korea Jang Soo-young[51] 21-9, 21-14
4 2008 Chinese Taipei Open Malaysia Lydia Cheah 21–8, 21–19
5 2009 Indonesia Open China Lin Wang[52] 12-21 21-18 21-9
6 2009 Syed Modi Memorial India Aditi Mutatkar 21–17, 21–13
7 2010 India Open Malaysia Wong Mew Choo[53] 20–22, 21–14, 21–12
8 2010 Singapore Open Chinese Taipei Tai Tzu-ying 21–18, 21–15
9 2010 Indonesia Open Japan Sayaka Sato 21–19, 13–21, 21–11
10 2010 Commonwealth Games Malaysia Wong Mew Choo 19-21, 23-21, 21-13
11 2010 Hong Kong Open China Wang Shixian 15–21, 21–16, 21–17
12 2011 Swiss Open South Korea Sung Ji-hyun 21–13, 21–14
13 2012 Swiss Open China Wang Shixian 21–19, 21–16
14 2012 Thailand Open Thailand Ratchanok Inthanon 19–21, 21–15, 21–10
15 2012 Indonesia Open China Li Xuerui 13–21, 22–20, 21–19
16 2012 Denmark Open Germany Juliane Schenk 21–17, 21–8
17 2014 Syed Modi International India P. V. Sindhu 21–14, 21–17
18 2014 Australian Open Spain Carolina Marín 21–18, 21–11
19 2014 China Open Japan Akane Yamaguchi 21–12, 22–20
20 2015 Syed Modi International Spain Carolina Marín 19–21, 25–23, 21–16
21 2015 India Open Thailand Ratchanok Intanon 21–16, 21–14
     Super Series Premier
     Super Series
     Grand Prix Gold
     Grand Prix

Individual runners-up (8)[edit]

S. No. Year Tournament Opponent in final Score
1 2007 India International Challenge[54] Japan Kanako Yonekura[55] 13-21, 18-21
2 2011 Malaysia Open China Wang Xin 21-13, 8-21, 14-21
3 2011 Indonesia Open China Wang Yihan 21-12, 21-23, 14-21
4 2011 Super Series Masters Finals China Wang Yihan 21-18, 13-21, 13-21
5 2012 French Open Japan Minatsu Mitani 19-21, 11-21
6 2015 All England Spain Carolina Marín 21-16, 14-21, 7-21
7 2015 World Championships Spain Carolina Marín 16-21, 19-21
8 2015 China Open China Li Xuerui 12-21, 15-21
     BWF Event (World Championships or Olympic Games)
     Super Series Premier/Finals
     Super Series
     Grand Prix Gold
     International Challenge

Individual Junior titles (3)[edit]

S. No. Year Tournament Opponent in final Score
1 2003 Czech Junior International (de) Ukraine Yana Vorotnykova[56] 11-3, 11-6
2 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games India N. Sikki Reddy[57][58] 23-21, 22-20
3 2008 World Junior Championships Japan Sayaka Sato 21-9, 21-18
     BWF Event (World Junior Championships)

Individual Junior runners-up (1)[edit]

S. No. Year Tournament Opponent in final Score
1 2006 World Junior Championships China Wang Yihan 13-21, 9-21
     BWF Event (World Junior Championships)

National titles (9)[edit]

S. No. Year Tournament Format Partner Opponent(s) in final Score
1 2003 Sub-Junior National Badminton Championship[59] Singles N/A Anjali Kalita 11-3, 11-13, 11-2
2 2003 Sub-Junior National Badminton Championship[60] Doubles Jyotshna P G. M. Nischitha / Madhuri Vijay 15-6, 15-7
3 2004 Junior National badminton championships[61] Singles N/A Ridhi Pajwani 11-2, 11-4
4 2004 Junior National badminton championships[62] Doubles Aparna Balan T. Soumya / Ashwini Chowdary 15-6, 15-10
5 2005 Junior National badminton championships[63] Singles N/A Aditi Mutatkar 11-5, 13-10
6 2005 Junior National badminton championships[64] Doubles Aparna Balan V. Ruth Misha / Saumya Padhye 15-2,15-4
7 2007 Senior National Badminton Championships[65] Singles N/A Aditi Mutatkar 21-19, 21-16
8 2007 National Games[66] Singles N/A Aditi Mutatkar 24-22, 21-15
9 2008 Senior National Badminton Championships[67] Singles N/A Trupti Murgunde 21-11, 21-10

Career overview[edit]

* Statistics were last updated on 22 October 2015.[68]

Singles performance timeline[edit]

Tournament 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015   SR   W–L Win % Best
BWF Super Series
South Korea Korea Open Super Series Premier A A 2R A 2R QF QF A A 0/4 QF (2012, 2013)
Malaysia Malaysia Open Super Series Premier A A 1R QF A SF SF 2R SF 0/6 SF (2012, 2013, 2015)
England All England Super Series Premier 2R 1R 1R SF QF QF SF QF F 0/9 F(2015)
India India Super Series N/A N/A N/A N/A 1R 2R 2R QF W 1/5 W(2015)
Indonesia Indonesia Super Series Premier A 2R W W F W SF QF QF 3/8 W(2009,2010,2012)
Singapore Singapore Super Series A SF QF W 2R A QF 1R A 1/6 W(2010)
China China Masters Super Series A SF A A QF A A N/A N/A 0/2 SF(2008)
Japan Japan Open Super Series A 1R 1R A SF A A A 2R 0/4 SF(2011)
Australia Australian Open N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A W QF 1/2 W(2014)
Denmark Denmark Open Super Series Premier 1R A QF A 2R W QF QF 2R 1/7 W(2012)
France French Super Series A A QF A 2R F 2R QF QF 0/6 F(2012)
China China Open Super Series Premier 1R 1R 2R A 1R A 2R W F 1/6 W(2014)
Hong Kong Hong Kong Super Series 1R QF 1R W QF 2R 2R QF A 1/8 W(2010)
BWF Super Series Masters Finals N/A SF A F SF SF F(2011)
BWF World Championships N/A QF QF QF N/A QF QF F F (2015)
BWF Grand Prix Gold and Grand Prix
Switzerland Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold 1R 2R QF A W W SF QF 2/6 W(2011,2012)
Thailand Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold 1R QF A QF W QF N/A W(2012)
Malaysia Malaysia Open Grand Prix Gold N/A N/A QF F F(2011)
India India Open Grand Prix Gold N/A 2R W W N/A N/A N/A W W W(2009,2010,2014,2015)
Year-end Ranking 8 4 4 3 8 4

Record against top ranked players[edit]

Record against Super Series finalists, World Championships semifinalists, and Olympic quarterfinalists.[69] (as of 8 March 2015)

Opponent Record Opponent Record Opponent Record Opponent Record
Spain Carolina Marin 3–2 China Wang Yihan 4–9 China Wang Xin 3–4 China Jiang Yanjiao 0–5
China Li Xuerui 2–9 China Wang Lin 2–4 China Lu Lan 4–1 China Xie Xingfang 0–2
China Zhang Ning 0–1 Denmark Tine Baun 5–4 Germany Juliane Schenk 8–4 Chinese Taipei Cheng Shao-Chieh 3–1
Chinese Taipei Tai Tzu-ying 5–4 South Korea Bae Youn-joo 7–4 South Korea Sung Ji-hyun 5–1 Japan Eriko Hirose 4–4
Japan Sayaka Sato 4–1 Japan Minatsu Mitani 6–4 Bulgaria Petya Nedelcheva 6–2 France Pi Hongyan 1–5
Hong Kong Yip Pui Yin 6–1 Hong Kong Zhou Mi 1–3 Hong Kong Wang Chen 1–3 Malaysia Wong Mew Choo 3–2
Thailand Porntip Buranaprasertsuk 7–1 Thailand Ratchanok Inthanon 6–4 Indonesia Lindaweni Fanetri 3–1 Indonesia Maria Kristin Yulianti 0–1
China Wang Shixian 6-7 Belgium Lianne Tan 1–0 Russia Ella Diehl 5–0 Ukraine Larisa Griga 1–0
India P. V. Sindhu 1–0


For the Bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics


In 2002, sports brand Yonex offered to sponsor Saina’s kit. As her status and rankings improved, the sponsorships increased. In 2004, BPCL (Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited)[77] signed the rising star. She is one of the athletes supported by Olympic Gold Quest.[78] She is the brand ambassador of Sahara India Pariwar.[79] Saina endorses Herbalife,[80] Top Ramen Noodles,[81] Fortune Cooking Oil,[82] Indian Overseas Bank, Vaseline, Sahara and Yonex.

She had signed an endorsement deal worth Rs. 400 million with the popular sports management firm Rhiti Sports in 2012.[83] However, she severed this deal in 2013 and signed up with KWAN entertainment and marketing solutions for an undisclosed sum.[84] She has a dedicated sporting range with the multinational sports goods manufacturer Yonex, 4% of the profits of which goes to her.[84] Apart from endorsements, she has also been invited on popular Indian television shows as a guest including Satyamev Jayate and Comedy Nights with Kapil.

See also[edit]


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  22. ^ Saina only wins praises but no prize money
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External links[edit]

Preceded by
Mary Kom, Vijender Singh & Sushil Kumar
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna
Succeeded by
Gagan Narang