Saina Nehwal created history on Saturday as she became the first Indian woman shuttler to attain the world number one ranking after her closest challenger for the spot, Spain’s Carolina Marin, lost in the India Open Super Series semifinal in Delhi.
Though the official rankings will be out only on Thursday next week, the 25-year-old Indian has been assured of her ascent to the top owing to Marin’s loss in the last-four stage.
The reigning world champion, who was seeded second, lost to third seed Thai Ratchanok Intanon 21-19 21-23 22-20.
Prakash Padukone had the distinction of being the No. 1 men’s badminton player, but Saina becomes the first Indian woman to achieve this feat.
Saina plays Japan’s Yui Hashimoto in the second semifinal, but the Indian ace will be No. 1 irrespective of the result. The London Olympic bronze-medallist has won a staggering 14 international titles in her glorious career.