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Saina keen to improve on disappointing Beijing show

Saina Nehwal begins her pursuit of a badminton medal at the London Olympics on Sunday and her first-round opponent in the three-player preliminary group is Swiss Sabrina Jaquet.

At the Beijing Games four years ago, Saina was stopped a round before the medal stage in the quarters by Indonesian Maria Kristin Yulianti, who went on to take the bronze.


Aiming high: Indian badminton ace Saina Nehwal. Pic/AFP

It was a big achievement for the 18-year-old Saina then. This time around she is seeded fourth and she is seen as a definite medal prospect.

She is determined, too, and even the draw looks kind to her, though she herself believes that there is nothing called easy round at major international events.

“The draw looks quite tough. I’ve played them before and they have given me a tough challenge. I expect good matches and I will take one match at a time,” Saina told IANS.

“I have developed as a player. This is my second Olympics and I am more experienced now and I know how to relax. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself,” said the 22-year-old.

Saina, who recently won the Indonesia Open Super Series Premier, is expected to face stiff challenge from groupmate Belgian Lianne Tan and two-time All England champion Tine Baun of Denmark in a possible quarter-final clash. She has a 3-3 head-to-head record against Baun.  

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