World No. 8 Saina led from the front with a 21-9 21-10 win over Hong Kong's Pui Yin Yip as India recorded their second consecutive win in the prestigious Uber Cup.
     
Saina has not won a tournament in more than a year. She struggled with injuries last year and also skipped the Asian Badminton Championship last month to prepare for the tough season ahead.
     
"The scores suggest it was easy but it was not. There were a lot of rallies. Yin Yip is a very good player. Beating her is not easy, she is a very attacking player. Good that I managed to pulled it off," Saina said after the match.
 
"Today I am happy I beat one player who is capable of beating anyone in the world. She is in top 15 and it is good to pull off match. It gives you confidence to play against the top players," she added.
     
Saina said during her break she worked hard on her fitness and the effort looks like paying off.
     
"I am very happy that I have improved. I could see that in my movements today. Those were quite impressive to me. I feel fit. I am not a player who works really on my strokes but works physically for being more fitter.
     
"That's what is my main strength. I needed to skip one tournament for that because I needed to get back into good shape as there are tough matches ahead. The second half of the year is very tough…lot of big events like Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, etc.  I just thought skipping tournament would good enough to get into shape," she explained.
     
Saina next faces world no. 4 Ratchanok Intanon, whom she has not beaten since 2012. But she is relying on her current form for a positive result this time.
     
"Of course, Ratchanok is going to be very very tough but am happy that there are signs of improvement. The confidence still needs to be improved but that can only happen if I play well against the top players," Saina said.

(Agencies)

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