London: Saina Nehwal has become the biggest medal hope for India by entering the women's single badminton semi-finals of the London Olympics, where she will face the world No. 1 Yihan Wang of China.
Although tennis doubles pair of Leander Paes and Sania Mirza and boxer Vijender SIngh too have reached the quarter-finals, it's Saina who might bring India's second medal first at the 2012 London Games.
The Indian shuttler, seeded fourth, displayed tremendous skill as well as moments of nervousness in defeating Denmark's Tine Baun 21-15, 22-20 at the Wembley Arena and en route became the first Indian badminton player to reach the Olympics semis.
The semi-final will be by far Saina\'s most difficult match as she has never beaten Wang in the five matches they have played so far.
But the semi-final will be by far Saina's most difficult match as she has never beaten Wang in the five matches they have played so far.
The Chinese shuttler has entered the last four after beating Shao Chieh Cheng of Chinese Taipei in straight sets. The 24-year-old displayed her A game in overpowering Cheng 21-14, 21-11.
With already 21 individual titles to her name, Wang is known in the badminton circuit for not giving an inch to her opponents. Saina too tasted that in 2011 when she was beaten in three sets by Wang in the Super Series Masters' Final.
In the same year, Wang once again got the better of Saina at the Indonesia Open where she defeated the Indian again in three sets.
Against Wang, the important thing for Saina will to display the same focus and single-mindedness she has displayed so far in the Games. Her Chinese oppponent is as athletic as she could have got, so winning the net points and enticing Wang to make unforced errors will be the key for the 22-year-old Indian.
Though Saina has hardly put a foot wrong so far in the Games, this hurdle could be vital in deciding which medal India will get in the quadrennial event.