BRAVO SAINA NEHWAL

SAINA NEHWAL posted some great victories at the Nationals.-

SAINA needs to curb her enthusiasm, tighten up her defence and learn to wait for the right openings.

Full marks to Saina Nehwal for making the final again. She had some great wins, especially the one over top seed Trupti Murgunde in the semifinals (11-9, 11-8). What Saina needs to do is to curb her enthusiasm and tighten up her defence and learn to wait for the right openings. Unbridled aggression often becomes a liability. Certainly age and talent are on her side.

Aditi Mutatkar, Sayali Gokhale and Aparna Balan are the other good prospects in women's badminton and it should only be a matter of time before they realise their potential.

Youngsters such as Ruth Misha of Karnataka too made an impact. She played an interesting quarter-final against Saina. Down 2-8, she rallied to rock Saina, attacking with zest, before the Hyderabad teenager prevailed.

Is Aparna unbeatable? Certainly not. Saina Nehwal proved that with a well deserved win in the Asian satellite tournament in New Delhi in November 2005, and Aditi Mutatkar, a talented youngster from Maharashtra, ran her close on a couple of occasions.

Meenakshi and Trupti Murgunde have often made Aparna struggle. But what players such as Saina and Aditi lack is experience. Playing someone, who had won eight National titles, is different from playing others. The stage makes a difference and Saina, with all her aggressive and innovative strokes, high fitness level and gung-ho attitude, would have realised that by now.