Saina Nehwal says Tai Tzu-Ying’s repertoire of shots and the ability to not restrict her game to a set pattern makes the World No. 1 from Chinese Taipei a very difficult player to beat at the moment.
The Indian ace settled for a bronze medal at the Asian Games after losing 17-21 14-21 to Tai Tzu-Ying. This was the Indian ace’s 10th straight defeat to the Taipei shuttler.
“I need to be quicker and have smooth movements, lot more shots as well, to finish the rallies. Somewhere she will catch you. Every rally is a different rally with her. Most players have set pattern but she has got a variety of shots,” Saina said.
“I definitely (need) the hand speed, bit more movement and not give her the chance to play her shots. There’s a special quality. She is someone who is not easy to read. Not all the coaches can read her. As a player I have tried to read but she always comes up with a new shot.”
Summing up the match, Saina said, “She has a complete game where you don’t know where to play her and where to get the points, I was really confused there.
“I played well, she played ever better. She tries to be very quick in the last few points, she is someone who has got very smooth movement with quick shots and she tries to execute them in the last points, so you have to be alert there. I tried to do but she has all kind of shots, even if you put her in difficult position, she comes out of it.”
Now that Saina has played numerous matches against Tai Tzu-Ying’s, what’s the way to that elusive win against her?
“You have to have that game to beat her, to properly plan. World Championship and the Games were quite close, so we did not have enough time to prepare but I tried. It’s not like that you cant beat her. It’s not impossible. You have to have a complete game because she has those deceptive shots to come out of difficult situations.”
Asked why Tzu Yin is such a dominant player, the Commonwealth Games gold medallist said, “Her net is quite strong, she has variety of shots from the net, so you have the chance to play at the back and open up the court, that’s why I thought at the start I could play deep back initially.
“She definitely she cracks, but you need to stick on with her till the end.”
Saina said she is pleased to have won her maiden Asian Games medal in her third attempt.
“I had two chances (2010, 2014) and both quarters (lost), this time being unseeded I could have faced anyone but the draw was favourable. I am happy I could get a medal. But the point is to fight with each and every player, it’s not about medal but to win it.
“This tournament is as good as Olympics, just that we do not have Carolina here.”
Asked about Sindhu’s prospects in the final against Tai Tzu-Ying, Saina said, “It would be 50-50. Sindhu is taller and has more option to counter, she can play shots I can’t.