New Delhi, Dec 26 (PTI) From being just another promising young shuttler to breaking into the world's top 10, the year gone by has seen the metamorphosis of Saina Nehwal into a sensation, whose exploits helped India rise up the world badminton chart.
Riding on her success story, Indian badminton enjoyed a steep-rise over the past few seasons to leave its mark on the world sporting canvass.
Keeping pace with her dreams, Saina had made her intent clear at the start of the year when she became the first Indian girl to enter a Super Series semi-final in Singapore Open before losing to Mi Zhou of Hong Kong. She also made it to the last eight of the Thailand open.
With a new found optimism, the 18-year-old then sizzled at the Beijing Games, stunning world number five and fourth seed Wang Chen of Hong Kong in a three-game thriller to become the first Indian woman to reach the quarter finals of the Olympics.
The little Hyderabadi teen soon attained the tag of a 'giant killer' as she galloped her way to an impressive win in the Yonex Chinese Taipei Open, beating Li Ya Lydia Cheah of Malaysia 21-8 21-19 in September.
The National champion also clinched the Youth Commonwealth Games and World Junior Championship titles and was adjudged the most promising player of the year by the Badminton World Federation soon after she broke into the elite top 10 bracket.
With the year nearing end, another opportunity came her way when she qualified for the prestigious World Super Series Masters final in Malaysia after two of the Chinese pulled out of the event at the last moment. PTI