Saina beat Lindaweni 21-17 21-10 to give India a positive start.

The Olympic bronze medallist Indian said she was improving and getting her confidence back with each victory.

"I can see improvements in my game. Lindaweni is a good player, she gave tough fight to every player. She had a lead of 7-8 and it's good that I could keep my focus. I kept on playing long rallies. She was getting tired in second game and I took my opportunity," Saina told reporters after the match.

Saina said she did not start well but was happy to get out of the rut after lagging 5-11 in the first game.

"Sometimes you don't start a match very well, today was one such day, but I am happy I could pull off the match from that situation. I'm getting back my confidence. She is another good player who has got all the shots and hard smashes. She is like Ratchanok (Inthanon) but Ratchanok is stronger physically. If I can beat Ratchanok, I can beat others. So I was confident."

"She had a good lead, so I stopped looking at the score. I was hurrying up a lot, so I told myself to first keep on playing. I played more rallies. I played her 2-3 times in Singapore and Indonesia. I was relaxed after I got out of that initial situation."

The Hyderabadi said she played more rallies.

"The shuttles were slow a bit today, so we were not able to finish off points. So I started playing more rallies."

Saina struggled a bit initially to trail 5-11 at the interval. But the Indian changed her tactics after the break as she kept tossing the shuttle at the back court and used angled drops and clever lifts to catch Lindaweni at the forecourt.

Saina snatched the lead from Lindaweni with a brilliant dribble at the net to move to 17-16.

Lindaweni again lost a couple of points at the forecourt and eventually hit wide to gave the first game to the Indian.

In the second game, Saina continued in the same vein and led 11-4 at the breather when Lindaweni hit out after a rally which left a smile on the Indian's face. Saina remained calm, despite some miscued shots. She reached the match point after winning a review and then Lindaweni hit the net to hand the match to Saina.

(Agencies)

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