Struggling with injuries and poor form for some time, Saina Nehwal said she was desperate to taste victory against a top player and the win against world No. 4 Ratchanok Inthanon was an emotional and unbelievable moment for her.
Olympic bronze medallist, Saina on Tuesday produced one of her finest performance to notch up a 22-20 21-14 win over World champion Ratchanok in the first singles to guide India to a comfortable victory over Thailand and catapult the hosts to the top of Group Y in the Uber Cup.
"I still can't believe that I beat her in straight games and that too here where I have never played well. I got emotional after winning," Saina told reporters after her win.
"She is a world No. 4 and winning against her means that I have trained really well and I hope to continue that in next round. I am so happy I did so well for my team," she added.
Saina said her performance gave a big boost to her confidence ahead of the Super Series tournaments in June.
"Confidence was still a major problem but I think getting the first game shows that I still have the confidence in me. I just took some time to get back. My strokes and movements made a lot of difference," she said.
"I just wanted to give my best and play well before the Super Series events in June. I wanted to have a feel of beating the top 10 players and getting into the action. I know how hard I worked."
Saina had suffered a series of injuries last year which affected her game as what followed were a number of early exits. In fact, she failed to win a single title in 2013. Besides a couple of semifinal finishes at All England and Malaysia Open, the Indian has had nothing to show.
Saina said because of the knee injury she was not able to reach the nets and it affected her game.
"That's (Net play) my game, which I couldn't play because of the knee. I could not reach the net high because of the pain. I was not confident at the net at all. Today, my defence was also good. Today she attacked the way she does but I was ready for that and she was making errors," said Saina, who had snapped a 15-month title drought by claiming the India Grand Prix in January.
Asked about pairing with Sindhu in the doubles for the first time, Saina said, "We are singles players, we do practice sometimes but it is for the country. Obviously, we won't be as good as them but since our second doubles is not so good, so we thought we will try to pull it off."